The Adventures of Captain Underpants by Dav Pilkey: Book Review

I have an affiliate relationship with and Malaprop's Bookstore in beautiful Asheville, NC. I will earn a small commission at no additional cost to you if you purchase merchandise through links on my site. Read more on my affiliate page.
Cover of The Adventures of Captain Underpants by Dav Pilkey

4 Stars
George Beard and Harold Hutchins are the 4th grade pranksters at their school. They change school signs around to say funny things, they fill cheerleader pom poms with black pepper, and they fill footballs with helium. Perhaps their favorite pastime, though, is writing comic books. They steal into the school office and make copies to sell when the secretary’s back is turned, then sell their comics to the other kids at the school. Their best superhero is Captain Underpants, who fights with Wedgie Power. “Tra-la-laaa!”

Their mean school principal, Mr. Krupp, really dislikes Harold and George for all the chaos they cause in his school. He blackmails them into behaving, but George and Harold find a way to fight back. Mr. Krupp never knows what hits him.

Oh my goodness. What a fun book! I was giggling away reading this by myself at the age of 33. I would have laughed to the point of tears as a child. But then, I’ve always loved a good fart joke. Unsophisticated, I know, but farts happen. Might as well get a laugh out of them.

George and Harold are a couple of comic geniuses. They have a talent for getting into trouble but their real talents lie in getting out of trouble. Their imagination and creativity seems to be limitless!

And what they do to Mr. Krupp… I loved it! What kid, no matter how well-behaved, doesn’t dream of rebelling against some authority figure? If we’re honest, we never lose those dreams. It feels so good to see someone acting out like that, even if it is just in the pages of a book.

There is one chapter that features flip-o-rama. I had such a good time with this! The book has reached a crashing climax and all of a sudden you get to sort of activate it yourself and watch the action take place. It was a lot of fun and I played around with it longer than I should probably admit to. When my husband got home, I made him watch as I flipped the pages to make the illustrations look animated. He even had to chuckle a little and admit that it was “pretty good.”

I really, really enjoyed this and recommend it for parents who don’t mind the potty humor. For parents struggling to find books for their sons to read, this would be a great one to try.

Captain Underpants is #13 on the ALA’s list of most frequently-banned books for the decade from 2000-2009. According to the Marshall University website, it has been

  • Challenged for anti-family content, being unsuited to age group and violence.
  • Challenged for offensive language and modeling bad behavior.
  • Banned for insensitivity and being unsuited to age group, as well as encouraging children to disobey authority.
  • Banned in Naugatuck (CN) due to concerns that it caused unruly behavior among children

Wow. This thin little children’s book has been busy. I would just have to say that all of these assertions have apparently been made by people who have no sense of humor and who’ve forgotten what it’s like to be a child. When I was about the age of this book’s target age-group, we loved the Wayside School stories by Louis Sachar. I bet someone somewhere said the same things about those books. (Oh, wait. Apparently, someone has.) The series was fun, they gave us a break for laughter during our day, and I can’t say that anyone in my class attempted to emulate any characters or scenes in the books. Children are able to differentiate between reality and stories, and behavior is learned at home. Teach them right at home and it won’t matter what they read.

You can see a few pages from the book at the official website (there are games and trivia there as well).

Find author Dav Pilkey on his website.

Buy The Adventures of Captain Underpants at

Have you read Captain Underpants? What did you think? Do you think children model the behavior they read about in books?

Banned Books Week

I have an affiliate relationship with Malaprop’s, my local independent bookstore located in downtown Asheville, NC; and Better World Books. I will receive a small commission at no cost to you if you purchase books through links on my site.

Other Posts You May Enjoy:

1 Comment

  1. It's not Artemis Fowl or The Phantom Toll Booth. But if you've ever had a kid that won't read — and is in that awkward 7-10, everything-involving-the-bathroom is funny range — this will get them reading. And laughing. Jeez, some people must have their senses of humor surgically removed! Thanks for the post, Jen.

I love to hear from you! Please contact me (menu bar, above) if you're having trouble commenting.