Captain Underpants is a guy who fights crime. He tears off his shirt, tie, pants, shoes, socks, turns a red curtain from his office window into a cape and jumps out the window.
With characters like Super Diaper Baby, Deputy Doo doo and the Lunch Ladies, the “Captain Underpants” series became the first long books D read cover to cover.
Who could resist a book with characters who have names like the Talking Toilets, Bionic Booger Boy, Tippy Tinkle Trousers, Professor and Poopy Pants?
D and I have enjoyed reading Captain Underpants’ exploits, and more so than with other books, he will remain engrossed in reading the stories.
So I was surprised to find out the “Captain Underpants” topped the list of most banned books in American in 2012, beating out “Fifty Shades of Grey.”
Here is an excerpt from Business Insider’s article, “Why ‘Captain Underpants Is the Most Banned Book in American,” which explains the ludicrousy:
Parents say in complaints filed to the Office for Intellectual Freedom that the illustrated books contain “offensive language” that is unsuited to the series’ target age group of elementary-school children.
The first book in the series even comes with a “Sturgeon General’s Warning” that says: “Some material in this book may be considered offensive by people who don’t wear underwear.”
So where’s the evidence that the books are actually a bad influence on children?
We’ve broken down the most “offensive” parts of the first “Captain Underpants” book in an attempt to understand why the series is the most banned in the country.
In Chapter 4, the two protagonists of the series–George Beard and Harold Hutchins–refer to their school principal as “that old guy” and call him “Mean Old Mr. Krupp.” Throughout the book, there is reference to undergarments.
The hero of the series, Captain Underpants, flies around in underwear and a cape throughout the illustrated book.
In Chapter 17, Captain Underpants slings his underwear at the evil Dr. Diaper in an attempt to defeat him and then covers himself with a barrel (Note: there is no actual nudity in the book, unless you count Captain Underpants’ chest).
In Chapter 16–titled “The Extremely Violence Chapter” — George and Harold save each other from evil robots by whacking (and presumably killing) them with what appears to be wooden planks.
The chapter comes with a disclaimer: WARNING: The following chapter contains graphic scenes showing two boys beating the tar out of a couple of robots. If you have high blood pressure, or if you faint at the sight of motor oil, we strongly urge you to take better care of yourself and stop being such a baby.”
The book is riddled with examples of George and Harold misbehaving. They play several pranks at school, including sprinkling pepper in the cheerleaders’ pom-poms and putting bubble bath in the marching band’s instruments.
The principal, who is later hypnotized by George and Harold into becoming Captain Underpants, blackmails the two mischievous students into behaving well at school and doing chores for him by threatening.
This could be construed as bullying.
But what’s even more shocking to us than the contents of the Captain Underpants series is why parents are so opposed to a book that gets young boys excited about reading.
Which is exactly what I thought.
As you can tell from the aforementioned “offensive parts” of the book, there is nothing really offensive. There is just good-natured boyhood pranks.
There is fantastic plots which keep eight-year-olds turning the pages.
So what’s not to like about Captain Underpants? Nothing!