Title: Captain Underpants and the Perilous Plot of Professor Poppypants
Author: Dav Pilkey
Illustrator: Dav Pilkey
Publisher: The Blue Sky Press, New York
Number of Pages: 153
Pub. Date: 2000
Summary: Professor Pippy P. Poopypants, a scientist from a country where everyone has a silly name, New Swissland, invents a shrinking machine, the Shrinky-Pig 2000, named because it looks like a baby piggy and an enlarging machine, the Goosy-Grow 4000. He goes to America so he can show these inventions to everyone and help the world by using his machines to shrink the world's garbage and increase the world's food supply. Unfortunately, everyone laughs at Professor Poopypants' name, instead of taking him seriously.
George and Harold play a prank on the teachers by putting powdered paste on the ceiling fan, and putting Styrofoam in the refrigerator. Professor Poopypants applies for a job as the elementary science teacher, but they are too distracted by his silly name to focus. George and Harold to make a comic book about the Professor inventing an army of gerbil joggers to destroy the world, which destroys the last of Professor Poopypants' credibility with the students and drives him crazy. Using his enlarging machine, he makes the gerbil machine as large as a tall building and then gets inside. He shrinks the school and holds them hostage. He then unveils his plan to force everyone in the world to change their names so everyone will have a silly name instead of a normal one, and anyone who refuses will be shrunk. George and Harold get Captain Underpants to steal Professor Poopypants' enlarging machine, but unfortunately he and the machine are shrunk in the process.
Captain Underpants then fights and defeats Professor Poopypants. The boys use the shrinking and enlarging machines to get the school and Captain Underpants back to normal size. Then Captain Underpants gets soaked with water, turning him back to Mr. Krupp. Professor Poopypants is hauled off to jail. George and Harold suggest that he change his name, but unfortunately, he choose Tippy Tinkletrousers and the people at jail make fun of him.
Critique: This book definitely falls into the humorous category of realistic fiction. It isn’t a normal realistic fiction book, but it definitely engages readers, especially young boys. Its main characters are two element aged boys that the readers can relate to. It has a fresh and creative plot that twists humor, realistic fiction and a bit of fantasy with a teacher turning into Captain Underpants and Professor Poppypants using his inventions to shrink people and schools.
Response: Honestly, these books are not my cup of tea, I found this type of humor to be silly and pointless, but I can also remember a time where talking about underpants and pee-pee was extremely funny. I did enjoy the author’s creativity with Professor Poppypants’ inventions and the ridiculous names that his country used. I did have a few giggles through this book, which means that it was worth reading. :)
Point of View Writing:
Have students write an account of the book from their point of view of what happened when everyone in the school shrunk down to micro size. This activity will surely encourage imagination, invoke thinking skills, and give the students experience in story writing. Everyone has a story to tell. Encourage the most ridiculous details that the students feel are fitting for their stories. The more silly they are, the better the result!