Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The Revolting Revenge of the Radioactive Robo-Boxers - a review

Pilkey, Dav. 2013. Captain Underpants and the Revolting Revenge of the Radioactive Robo-Boxers. New York: Scholastic.

Maybe you're not a fan of Captain Underpants, the superhero alter ego of mean, Jerome Horwitz Elementary School Principal, Mr. Krupp.  Maybe you're not a fan of the frequent misspellings of Mr. Krupp's troublesome 4th graders, George and Harold.  However, it's hard not to be a fan of one of the most wildly popular series for young and reluctant readers.  This goofy, irreverent series continues to gain new fans and flies off the shelf with as much regularity and enthusiasm as the flying Captain Underpants himself. "Tra la la!"

This latest adventure finds George and Harold travelling through time with pets Crackers and Sulu, to correct the events of an earlier time-travelling venture that had disastrous consequences for the future.  Pitted against Tippy Tinkletrousers, Tiny Tippy Tinkletrousers, and Slightly Younger Tiny Tippy Tinkletrousers and their Freezy-Beam 4000, George and Harold will have to use their wits if they are to save Captain Underpants and return to the future.  Six great Flip-O-Ramas are included (they make a fun art activity), as well as a 24-page wordless comic featuring Ook and Gluk.

Although the series is suggested for ages 7 and up, I find that much older kids will read Captain Underpants, too - and not just reluctant readers.  I know high-level readers that enjoy Dav Pilkey's Three Stooges brand of humor and art as well.  I'm not much for bathroom or pratfall humor, but Chapter 2, "Let's Get Serious, Folks," had me laughing out loud.   Explaining why we miserable, regretful and grumpy grownups discourage all kinds of fun, the narrator offers readers this bit of advice,

     Keeping this in mind, you might not want to smile or laugh while reading this book.  And when you get to the Flip-O-Rama parts, I suggest you flip with a bored, disinterested look on your face or some adult will probably take this book away from you and make you read Sarah, Plain and Tall instead.
     Don't say I didn't warn you.
When I checked today, Captain Underpants and the Revolting Revenge of the Radioactive Robo-Boxers was ranked #213 on  Not #213 in children's books, #213 in all books. Not too shabby.  And the reviews?  All 5 stars.

If you think kids are the only ones who follow the adventures of Captain Underpants, guess again. Captain Underpants was even featured on NPR's Morning Edition.  Read or listen to "Hold On To Your Tighty Whities, Captain Underpants is Back!" here.

DreamWorks Animation has the film rights to the Captain Underpants series, but no timeline for production has been announced yet.

Oh yes, and he's got an app, too. Preview the Adventures of Captain Underpants app here.

Update: Forgot to add that Advance Reader Copies were provided at my request by Scholastic and NetGalley.

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