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