Creepy Pair of Underwear!

Book review by
Jan Carr, Common Sense Media
Creepy Pair of Underwear! Book Poster Image
Hilarious tale of a rabbit afraid of his scary underpants.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Shows addressing and stamping an envelope.

Positive Messages

It's good to try big-kid things. If things don't go your way, persist. Sometimes unusual solutions present themselves.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Jasper Rabbit is game to try new things and wants to be a big rabbit. When he realizes he's afraid, he takes measures to get rid of the creepy underwear. When one measure doesn't work, he tries another. When he realizes he's still afraid of the dark, he comes up with a creative solution. Little by little, he becomes a big rabbit.

Violence & Scariness

The underwear is creepy, and somehow reappears every time Jasper tries to get rid of it. But the scariness is tempered by the silliness.

Language

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Creepy Pair of Underwear! is written by Aaron Reynolds (President Squid) and illustrated by Peter Brown (Mr. Tiger Goes Wild), the same duo that earned a Caldecott Honor for their Creepy Carrots! This one's a really funny book about a pair of underwear that at first glance seems cool but quickly turns creepy. The book plays on the psychological dilemma of wanting to be a big kid but still being afraid of some big-kid things -- like underwear! The humor's laugh-out-loud, and you can almost hear the ominous chords of the horror film music chiming in the background.

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What's the story?

In CREEPY PAIR OF UNDERWEAR!, Jasper Rabbit needs new underwear, so his mom buys him packs of tighty-whities. But when Jasper begs for a glowing green pair stamped with a Frankenstein face, she obliges. This new underwear seems cool, until it turns creepy. Jasper stuffs it in his hamper when its eerie glow keeps him awake, but then he mysteriously wakes up wearing it! When he mails it off to China, it returns with souvenirs: chopsticks, a fan, and a panda teddy. He even cuts it to shreds with his mom's scissors, but somehow it reappears intact, hanging on the bathroom hook. Finally, Jasper digs a really deep hole and buries it. This works, until he finds he's still afraid of the dark, so he digs up the underwear, buys more pairs with his allowance, and strings them all up as nightlights.

Is it any good?

There's lots of silly, spooky fun in this story about a pair of underwear with a "ghoulish, greenish glow" that slyly plays on kids' conflicted feelings about their big-kid underwear. Creepy Pair of Underwear! has a really clever premise -- an ominous, indestructible pair of underwear straight out of a horror film -- and author Aaron Reynolds tells the story with text that's hilariously dry and deadpan. For instance, when Jasper cuts up the underwear with his mom's scissors, Jasper thinks, "She didn't like him using them, but this was an underwear emergency." And when he digs a hole to bury the underpants, the hole is "100% underwear-proof." All of which helps highlight his shaky insistence, "A grown rabbit couldn't be terrified of his underpants."

Peter Brown's art is the perfect pairing. He renders the underwear in a garish green, the fluorescent color of nuclear waste, and for maximum effect, juxtaposes it against black backgrounds. When Jasper's afraid of the dark, Brown gives us a full spread that's completely black, followed by one that's all black except for two wide, frightened eyes. It's a horrifyingly good read.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the scary parts in Creepy Pair of Underwear! Do underpants ever feel creepy to you? Why? What things are you afraid of?

  • Why do you think the author made the book both silly and scary?

  • How many colors are there in the art? Why do you think the artist limited the number of colors? Why do you think he chose fluorescent green for the creepy underwear?

Book details

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