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on 27 February 2010
George Beard and Harold Hutchins, the main characters of The Adventures of Captain Underpants, are pranksters of the first order. In this installment of Pilkey's Captain Underpants series, George and Harold pull an outrageous set of pranks at their elementary school football game. However, unbeknown to them their mean principal Mr. Krupp has caught all of their antics on videotape and he proceeds to use the tape to blackmail them into behaving well in school and serving his every whim.

After a few days of following Mr. Krupp's rules, the boys remember a comic-book advertisement for a "3-D Hypno-Ring" that will allow them to hypnotize Mr. Krupp and lay hands on the incriminating videotape. George and Harold follow through with their plan, and in the process have some fun with Mr. Krupp, making him believe he is Captain Underpants--George and Harold's favorite superhero in their homemade comic books--while he is under their hypnotic spell. Silly high jinks ensue.

This book has tremendous subjective appeal: kids will love it (mine do...). The chief thing that makes it appealing is humor. For example, Pilkey's turn of phrase itself is often hilarious. In the introductory chapter he describes George and Harold as kids who were "usually responsible...Whenever anything bad happened, George and Harold were usually responsible." Kids will also think the fantastic nature and scale of the boys' pranks is funny. For example, they put black pepper in the cheerleader's pom-poms causing the cheerleaders to sneeze uncontrollably, they put bubble bath in the marching band's horns so the band's playing just ends up blowing bubbles, and they replace the football team's muscle rub lotion with "Mr. Prankster's Extra-Scratchy Itching Cream." And of course the potty-humor theme throughout the book appeals to a child's (seemingly natural, if my kids are any indication) proclivity for all things potty'ish.

Despite being genuinely funny, we give this book a mere two-star rating since it is woefully thin on developmental value. Indeed, my worry is that will actually detract from a child's development in character. The primary fault of the book, as I see it, is that it casts the highly questionable values of George and Harold in a positive light. For example, in chapter 2 George and Harold sneak into the school office and make several hundred copies of their Captain Underpants comic book, which they proceed to sell at a profit on the playground. Moreover, in chapter 12 when the hypnotized Mr. Krupp dashes off to fight crime as Captain Underpants, the reason the boys follow and try to stop him is that they could get in big trouble if they don't. And of course they steal the videotape evidence of their disruptive pranks from Mr. Krupp's office. By mixing the boys' self-serving attitudes and acts of thievery with humor, Pilkey fosters approval of their attitudes and deeds, which, in my view, is detrimental to a child's character development.

Also worrying is the fact that every adult-child relationship depicted in this book is adversarial: the premise of the book is an ongoing battle between the boys and Mr. Krupp. Indeed, this sort of adversarial relationship between adults and children is the underlying engine of the entire Captain Underpants series. Now, while there are mean adults in the world (exemplified by Mr. Krupp), and while there is nothing wrong with depicting them in children's literature, without parallel examples of positive adult-child relationships the bad relationships portrayed only deepen the divide between adults and children. In my view, Roald Dahl's Matilda is a better (though perhaps still not perfect) model of how bad adult-child relationships should be treated in children's literature.

Finally, it is likely that most parents will also not appreciate the thoroughgoing use of potty humor in the book. While this point is admittedly more a matter of taste than of a clear failure in values, I am of the view that kids need no encouragement toward potty humor. They find their own way there often enough...

Before concluding this review, I should acknowledge several factors that do lend the book a modicum of developmental value. First, it is genuinely creative, which is a characteristic we should want our kids to encounter in their books. Second, it might well inspire some kids to read who might not do much reading ordinarily. However, in my view the negative aspects of this book far outweigh these positive features. Moreover, if the child you have in mind is struggling with motivation to read, there are other creative and funny books that will serve him or her better, such as Arnold Lobel's Frog and Toad Are Friends or even Dav Pilkey's A Friend For Dragon.

In sum, I do not recommend The Adventures of Captain Underpants, and I encourage you to avoid this book and others in the Captain Underpants series.
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on 10 July 2016
A great shared read with a small child! My 5 year old loved this from start to finish. I was concerned that it would be too mature, but the content is spot on really.

It's the first in a series about two boys who enjoy playing pranks at school, the headteacher who tries to stop them, and the plan they come up with to hypnotise him into thinking he's the superhero in one of their homemade comic books...

The pranks, the comics, the fliporama (we looked at these again and again!), the headteacher in his underpants. Just EXACTLY what a young boy wants in a book. We like Dahl, Horrid Henry, Anne Fine, Dick King-Smith, an eclectic mix, and we've now added Dav Pilkey to our bedtime rota.

He's asked for the next in the series already. And I"m happy to oblige - there's a lot of literacy convention here to expose young readers to - comic book structure, flip books, some fantastic humour and silly lines that are actually very witty. The idea of hypnotism and a head teachers swanning around in pants and a curtain is very appealing.

Great for reluctant readers (with lots of short chapters and hilarious illustrations), wonderful for my beginner reader to listen to.

One for ages 5 to 12.
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on 24 August 2015
An new awesome book if you love captain underpants full of quizzes , laffs,and much much more a little similar to the crunchy book o fun but still great ! A lot of mazes comics jokes pranks and how to draw cartoons all in full colour overall a definet five star rating for me!
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on 26 April 2000
An epic novel that's about two boys who order a hypno-ring and hypnotize the headmaster. It doesn't go down very well.The headmaster turns into captain underpants-The hero of a lifetime.He flies through the town until the worlds biggest gem is stolen. I would recommend this book for 7-9 year olds.
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on 17 January 2017
Virtually unreadable on our Kindle Paper-white - lines overprint ( see attached photo). No help available on forum.
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on 13 December 2007
Our 7 year old son has read two Captain Underpants collections; 350+ and 450+ pages respectively, so it is with high praise and deep gratitude to Mr.Pilkey that I write this little review.

I must echo an earlier review though, in that you must check which stories are in the compilations as we too have had a duplicate purchase.

The first compilation (this one, ISBN: 0439954509) has the first three novels as detailed in the review below I think (unless these reviews don't run in chronological order?), anyway they're: "The Adventures Of...", "Attack of the Talking Toilets" and "Invasion of the Incredibly Naughty Cafeteria Ladies From Outer Space".

The second compilation (ISBN: 0439950430) "Three More Wedgie-Powered Adventures In One" has the second set of three; "Perilous Plot of Professor Poopypants", "Wrath of the Wicked Wedgie Woman" and "Big, Bad Battle of the Bionic Booger Boy, Part 1".

Hope that helps with your purchases.

The books themselves are a great mix of cartoons, flip-o-ramas (where you flip the pages to see the movement), and text based stories with illustrations. This works well for 5-8 year olds who may not have the patience or inclination to dive into what may be a daunting full-text book.

The content, as I'm sure will come as no surprise, is good old fashioned toilet humor. There's nothing that our family could find remotely offensive though, so I'd say don't worry a jot about that. Put simply, if you liked Tiswas, you won't mind your kids reading this.

There are some 'Americanisms' in there, and the purposeful mis-spelling of words to echo the way that the two main characters (two kids named George and Harold) may attract some criticism, but I say balance that with the enthusiasm to read that these books generate from kids and you've got a good mix imho.

A final note is just to say that they may also encourage Dads to read to their kids at bedtime... I've almost looked forward to reading them as much as our son, and they've had me chuckling along too! :o)
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on 17 May 2014
I didn't buy this book, I have no children and lost my kindle last year. This book magically has been bought, by me, when I didn't buy it. How can this happen when you lose your kindle? How can over 50 pounds worth of books be purchased on an Amazon account, by someone who is not the account holder. How can anyone purchase books for a kindle, just by finding the kindle.
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on 23 December 2014
I have just read this chapter book out loud to my five-year-old son, though its reading age is really 8+ years. It is illustrated with big, bold pictures and graphics on every page, including lots of "Kar-Boom!" and other sound effect words; it has a section written like a classic old-style comic book ("Look! Up in the sky!" type of thing); and it has a short flip-a-rama section, though I couldn't get that to work successfully. It's very originally presented. My son loved it.

Two naughty schoolboys create a comic book called "Captain Underpants" while ducking the attentions of their stern headmaster. (He has a sign saying "Kneel Here" on the front of his desk.) After being given a lifetime of detention, they order a hypnosis gizmo through mail order, and hypnotize their headmaster into believing that he is actually Captain Underpants. While he runs around town in a red curtain and his underwear, misguidedly trying to fight crime, the trio accidentally stumble on the world-domination schemes of Dr Nappy and his robots. Only slingshots, skateboards, plastic dog poo, and the trio's ingenuity can save civilisation now.......!!!

My son roared with laughter during every chapter. I'm just starting him on chapter books, and because this relies so much on visual imagery as well as text, it's a good bridge between picture books and chapter books.
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on 15 September 2015
I think it is a shame after 8 years of laughter its finally come to an end with not so funny jokes anymore and more politically correct. Thank you Dav
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on 3 September 2015
And that's the end of Captain Underpants! It's been a long hilarious, successful journey that has come to a close with little fanfare. I can't say I found this volume as delightful as the usual outings. The silly toilet humour has been pared down and Pilkey sadly sinks to political correctness but it was still a wacky wild ride that tied up the Underpants story while at the same time leaving Harold and George wide open for further adventures ... in time!
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