________________ CM . . . . Volume VII Number 4 . . . . October 20, 2000

cover Captain Underpants and the Perilous Plot of Professor Poopypants: the fourth epic novel. (The Adventures of Captain Underpants Series).

Dav Pilkey.
New York, NY: The Blue Sky Press (Distributed in Canada by Scholastic Canada), 2000.
92 pp., pbk. & cl., $8.95 (pbk.), $22.99 (cl.).
ISBN 0-439-049989 (pbk), ISBN 0-439-04997-0 (cl).

Subject Headings:
Humourous stories.

Grades 4 - 6 / Ages 9 - 11.

Review by Val Nielsen.

** /4

image Dav Pilkey knows a thing or two about the reading preferences of 8 to 10 year-old boys. They like thin books with a high ratio of pictures to text, a cast of characters featuring smart kids versus dumb adults, and plenty of bathroom humour to (excuse the word) move the plot along. Fresh from their wacky adventures in the first three Captain Underpants books, the two anti-heroes, George and Harold, are soon up to their ears in a race to save the world from diabolically clever Professor Pippy P. Poopypants. Just why is the brilliant professor so determined to take over the world? Alas, the boys and girls in his science class have had the audacity to laugh at his name. Not even the Gerbil Jogger, Professor Poopypants' fascinating invention, can keep the students from breaking up when they hear Professor P. Poopypants' middle name. (You guessed - it's Pee-Pee). The discovery of a comic book featuring himself in a very unflattering light written by those two incorrigibles, George and Harold, is enough to cause the unfortunate professor to hit rock bottom and to decide to pull the rest of the planet down with him. Of course, the high-flying Waistband Warrior (AKA Captain Underpants, a metamorphosized version of Mr. Krupp, Principal of Jerome Horowitz Elementary School) comes to the rescue, battling the evil Professor and his army of giant robot gerbils. Readers can enjoy the final battle between the Captain and the Professor, blown up to giant proportions by Professor Poopypants' Goosy-Grow 4000 invention, by way of a "Flip-O-Rama." Just in case the reader's patience or interest has run out, the author has devised several pages which can be flipped back and forth to produce an appearance of animation wherein the heroic Captain Underpants head-butts, kicks and stomps his adversary.
    Apparently the Captain Underpants books have an enthusiastic following among eight to ten-year olds. Although more sophisticated readers are likely to tire of the plethora of silly names and even sillier situations in Captain Underpants and the Perilous Plot of Professor Poopypants, many younger readers will keep on chuckling. Because the age appropriateness of these books is rather narrow (at seven most children would be unable to read them, and, at eleven, most would be likely to dismiss them as too juvenile) and because $22.99 for the hard cover edition is rather pricey, school librarians may decide to give Captain Underpants and the Perilous Plot of Professor Poopypants a miss. Nonetheless, since the Captain Underpants books have proved wildly popular with that group of readers known for their reluctance to tackle "real" books, elementary librarians may want to waive their distaste for the title and format and purchase a copy of Captain Underpants and the Perilous Plot of Professor Poopypants.

Recommended with reservations.

Valerie Nielsen is a retired teacher-librarian who lives in Winnipeg, MB.

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

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The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364