Sunday, August 14, 2011

Let's Get Ready to Rumble!

I hate Captain Underpants books! Dav Pilkey has written and illustrated some of my favorite picture books, so I know he is a wonderful author. Captain Underpants has no substance, unless, toilets, poopypants, and boogers are substance. I know, I know, I know kids love them because they are funny. But I don’t believe one can become a better reader by reading Captain Underpants. One doesn’t need to do any thinking when reading Captain Underpants. Readers of Captain Underpants can become bad spellers because many of the words are spelled incorrectly.

I am sure Dav Pilkey is laughing all the way to bank because Captain Underpants has made him a megamillionaire. He has even started a new series of books with even more misspelled words and poor plots, Ook and Gluk.

I don’t want anyone to have the only memory of books read in school to be Captain Underpants. I want the students at Tomahawk to experience some real books: Al Capone Does My Shirts, Mockingbird, Swear to Howdy, Hatchet, Moon Over Manifest, My Louisiana Sky, A Year Down Yonder, The Graduation of Jake Moon, and The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane.  (I would also like to give props to Dav Pilkey’s beautiful picture book, Paperboy.) I could list so many more great children’s books that could take Captain Underpants in a literary rumble any day! Captain Underpants will never make the reader sigh, cry, or wonder!

Here is an imagined wrestling match between Captain Underpants and Edward Tulane:

Announcer: Ladies and Gentlemennnnn, get ready for the epic literary battle of the century! In this corner, weighing in at less than five pounds soaking wet. We know he spent endless months at the bottom of the ocean. Reaching three feet tall is that literary great, Edward Tulane, recently back from his miraculous journey!

Audience: (wild applause) Edward! Edward! Edward!

Announcer: And in this corner, weighing in at twenty pounds and wearing only his Fruit of the Looms and a ridiculous cape is Captain Underpants, recently back from the Underwear Festival in Piqua, Ohio!

Audience: (applause) Poopy pants! Poopy Pants! Poopy pants!

Announcer: Captain Underpants needs to take caution because it looks like Edward Tulane has already become filled with ennui.

Captain Underpants: N-U-E? Nue? He doesn’t look nue to me! He looks like an old doll!

Announcer: Oh, that’s right, Captain Underpants wouldn’t know what ennui means. The books that he appears in have no vocabulary. The toughest word is toilet and most of the words are spelled wrong!

Captain Underpants: Let’s just get this thing over with. The nue kid is made of glass! I’ll break him in no time.

Announcer: Poor, Captain Underpants, again he has shown his stupidity! Edward isn’t made of glass. That is porcelain, my friend. I know porcelain has three syllables, which is too much for a guy in underwear. Gentlemen, please proceed to the center of the ring to parle with the ref.

Captain Underpants: Pro Seed? I am not wrestling a plant! Parsley? What does parsley have to do with wrestling?

Announcer: ( whispering) Hey, Buddy, just  go over to the guy in the striped shirt. (shouting) Ladies and gentlemennnnnnnn, let’s get ready toooooo rummmmmmmble!

Referee: Gentleman, good readers make connections, visualize, infer, question, synthesize, and use their schema. How can your books help readers become better readers?

Captain Underpants: Kids like toilets and poop.

(Edward pushes Captain Underpants to the ground.)

Audience: Ouch!

Announcer: Edward has thrown Captain Underpants to the ground. Edward’s readers not only connect with Abilene losing Edward but they can connect to the way Edward feels throughout his miraculous journey.

Captain Underpants: (panting) My readers don’t have to visualize everything is drawn for them. My books are like comic books drawn by ten year olds.

(Edward employs a chokeslam on Captain Underpants.)

Audience: Ooooooooooo.

Announcer: Edward has performed the crushing chokeslam on Captain Underpants. Visualizing is one of the most important comprehension skills that a reader needs. Readers can “see” Edward being kicked off the train as Lucy howls her discontent. Readers must use their visualizing skills throughout the Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane.

Captain Underpants: I, I, I don’t know what infer, synthesize, or schema means.

Announcer: Of course, Captain Underpants doesn’t know what these comprehension terms means. Unfortunately, neither does the reader of Captain Underpants books. Captain Underpants will never go down in literary history as having a plot that involves the reader actually having to think!

Audience: Good readers are thinkers! Good readers are thinkers! Good readers are thinkers! Good readers are thinkers! Good readers are thinkers!

(Edward lifts Captain Underpants above his head for an airplane spin, and pile drives him into the mat with a back body slam. He then pins Captain Underpants for the count.)

Announcer: And the crowd goes wild!

Audience: Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

Referee: (while pounding the ground) One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten. (The referee grabs Edward’s hand and raises it in the air. Captain Underpants crawls back to his corner where Ook and Gluk are playing with his water bucket and picking their noses.)

Audience: Edward! Edward! Edward!

Announcer: Ladies and Gentlemennnnnnn, The new, (looking at Captain Underpants) that would be new, n-e-w, Champion of Literature, EEEEEEEED-WARRRRRRD TUUUUUUUUU-LAAAAAAAAAAANE! And he did it without wrinkling his jaunty outfit or dropping his watch. (Edward takes the championship belt, shaped like a book, to his corner and gives it to Abilene because he knows he would never have won without her love.)

Captain Underpants: I can't believe I was smacked-down by a bunny made of glass wearing a suit! He didn't even say a word.!

Abilene: Edward Tulane has learned to be a good listener. He does need to speak to show his merit.

Announcer: It's time to face the music, Captain Underpants, you are a LOOOOOOOSERRRRR!

Paco's Perspective
Flip has a Captain Underpants book hidden under his bed. He is so uncouth!
Has anyone seen my copy of To Kill a Mockingbird?

The Flip Side

Poop? I like poop! Dav Pilkey writes books about a big, giant lizard. I love lizards!
I think I am in love with Dav Pilkey!

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like you have not read any of the Captain Underpants books or you have poor reading comprehension. Dav Pilkey is a subtle moralist and he celebrates family, friendship and justice in his Captain Underpants series. These books are intended for 3rd and 4th graders. Many 3rd and 4th graders know how to spell a lot of the words depicted in his books and love pointing out the misspellings. The misspellings in the books only occur when the two protagonists make their own comics. According to many elementary school teachers, the misspellings of the two protagonists reflect how many 3rd and 4th graders spell. That is the present state of our schools. He does use advance vocabulary in these series, such as, "preposterous" and uses many word puns. If you get a chance, you should watch his video, "Behind the Blankies, Super Diaper Baby 2". It is about 8 minutes long but it explains the reasons for the intentional misspellings. It's actually quite moving. He is trying to reach a large group of kids who have problems within our current educational system. Isn't it better to associate reading with fun? Sometimes things are not what they seem. Look beyond the surface and open your mind. If you read the graphic novel by Pilkey, "The Adventures of Ook and Gluk", which should only take 5 minutes to read, you will see the very deep philosophical message he brings to kids without being obvious or preachy.