What You Need to Know:|
• Super Diaper Baby 2 is the latest from the Captain Underpants creator, Dav Pilkey.
• Pilkey's books have been debated about since they were first published because of the potty humor and lack of
proper grammar and spelling, à la Junie B. Jones.
• You can debate those issue all you want, but if you are the parent or teacher of a reluctant reader, you MUST
consider his books.
The Baby is back! Super Diaper Baby 2 is the continuation of the adventures of Super Diaper Baby and his trusty side-kick, Diaper Dog. This book is "written" by George and Harold, two elementary school students who also "wrote" the Captain Underpants series. George and Harold's principal, Mr. Krupp, forbade them to write any more comic books about poo. So they wrote Super Diaper Baby 2, which is about pee. Stay with me here! Rip Van Tinkle has accidentally turned into a puddle of pee, and he is out to destroy every toilet in town. Super Diaper Baby and Diaper Dog are on the case!
Dav Pilkey is the real author who writes in George and Harold's voices. He had lots of trouble in school growing up, but the one thing he was good at was making comic books. His humor has never appealed to adults - not then and not now. But Pilkey is not trying to appeal to them! He is writing these books for kids and kids only. Pilkey has said that if a kid sits down to read one of his books and laughs, his job is done. He has also said that he hasn't tried to put any lessons in his books, because he feels kids get enough of that at school. Finally, in response to the grammar errors and mispellings, Pilkey had this to say when asked about Captain Underpants:
"It was never my intention to offend anybody. My intention with this book was to make kids laugh. If a kid is reading my books and laughing, I’ve done my job. Of course, I knew all along that some people would be offended by the book, but that didn’t really bother me. Humor is a very subjective thing. Not everybody finds the same things funny. But this particular book has almost a million copies in print, so obviously I’m not the only one who thinks it's funny.
I’ve heard from some grown-ups who were not happy about the misspelled words and bad grammar in this book, but I think they're missing the point. Adults often do that (they're not always as clever as kids). The point of all the mistakes in George and Harold's comics is: it doesn't matter. The comics are still good... and funny... and worthwhile. Even with all the errors. I think some kids get too caught up in trying to be "perfect". So much so, that they're afraid to be creative because they might make a mistake. It's my hope that these kids will read George and Harold's comics, notice the mistakes, and realize that creativity doesn't depend on proper spelling, flawless grammar, or even perfect artwork (Harold's drawings aren't much more than stick figures). I'm hoping these less than perfect comics will encourage kids to try being creative on their own, without the often paralyzing fear of messing up.
While you may not agree with how Mr. Pilkey writes his books or the subject matter he puts into them, you can't argue with the fact that Pilkey's books appeal to young boys who hate to read. They just do. I have watched many young readers blossom after reading Ricky Ricotta. I have watched my own son, after labeling himself a non-reader in the second grade, get excited for the very first time about a series. When he finished the first Captain Underpants, he bugged me until I took him to the book store for the second. This was an almost isolated incident for him. Since then, there are only a handful of books that have excited him as much, and he is 12 yrs old now! Also, you can't argue that Pilkey's characters are on the side of inclusion. He says he doesn't put "lessons" in his book, but he has written about friendship, loyalty and the underdog all along. George and Harold are always watching out for each other. That's nothing to argue about!
2011, 192 pages
Graphic Novel, Humor, Adventure, Books for Boys
• If you could be a super hero, what kind of super hero would you be? Why?
• What do you like best about Super Diaper Baby?
• Do you think this book is funny? Why or why not?
• Have you ever written your own comic book? What was it about?
• If you haven't, can you think of an idea for a comic book of your own?
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