________________ CM . . . . Volume VIII Number 14 . . . . March 15, 2002

cover Captain Underpants and the Wrath of the Wicked Wedgie Woman: The Fifth Epic Novel.

Dav Pilkey.
New York, NY: Scholastic, 2001.
173 pp., pbk., $5.99.
ISBN 0-439-05000-6.

Subject Headings:
School principals-Juvenile fiction.
Heroes-Juvenile fiction.
Schools-Juvenile fiction.

Grades 2-8 /Ages 7-13.

Review by Helen Arkos.

*** /4


Ms. Ribble went around the classroom handing out envelopes, sheets of construction paper, and butterfly stencils to all of the children. Then she wrote a poem on the chalkboard.

"Alright, take out your crayons," said Ms. Ribble harshly. "I want you to use stencils to make a yellow butterfly on the front of your cards. When you're done, copy this poem on the inside: Roses are Red, Violets are Blue. You are Retiring And We'll Miss You."

"Can we make up our own poems?" asked Melvin Sneedly.

"No!" snapped Ms. Ribble.

"Do we have to use stencils?" asked Aaron Mancini.

"YES!" yelled Ms. Ribble.

"Can we make our butterflies purple?" asked Stephanie Yarkoff.

"NO!" screamed Ms. Ribble. "Butterflies are yellow! Everyone knows that!"

According to author Dav Pilkey, there are few words funnier - to a grade 2 class - than underwear. Captain Underpants, if you are not yet familiar with him, is a super hero whose costume is nothing more than a plain pair of white underwear. This "fifth epic novel" in the series is set in Jerome Horwitz Elementary School with Captain Underpants as the alter-ego of the school's principal, Mr. Krupp. A super hero has to have an arch enemy to battle, and in this case, she is none other than the soon-to-retire Ms. Ribble transformed into the Wicked Wedgie Woman through hypnosis.

     The main culprits in the story are George and Harold, two youngsters with more than their share of what they call "imagination." They stand out of the crowd at Jerome Horwitz Elementary School where posters hang on the walls announcing, "Mindless Conformity. It's cool--It's fun". Comic books on Captain Underpants penned by George and Harold, complete with imaginative spellings, are included within the pages of this book.

     Dav Pilkey's numerous black and white line drawings illustrate his irreverent look at school life. In them, we see words rearranged on signs in the hallways. From "Have a blissfully grand retirement Ms. Ribble," we get "Ms. Ribble really needs a breath mint." This zany sense of humour appeals to a broad age range of young readers. At the beginning of chapter 25, readers are warned to skip this chapter because it contains scenes that are so violent and naughty. Later on are found punishments to self administer in case you did not follow these instructions.


Helen Arkos is the teacher-librarian at John Henderson Junior High School in Winnipeg, MB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.

Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364