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The Adventures of Captain Underpants: Captain Underpants, Book 1

Book review by
Stephany Aulenback, Common Sense Media
The Adventures of Captain Underpants: Captain Underpants, Book 1 Book Poster Image
Gross potty humor, funny pranks will hook reluctant readers.
Parents recommendPopular with kids

Parents say

age 7+
Based on 23 reviews

Kids say

age 6+
Based on 39 reviews

A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

May appeal to reluctant readers and get them interested in other books (see our list of other books that reluctant readers may appreciate, including some with a little more literary merit). May also help parents set boundaries with their kids about their own expectations for appropriate language and humor.

Positive Messages

The boys help Captain Underpants fight against evil Dr. Diaper ... oh, forget it, kids are going to be too distracted by the gross-out bathroom humor to notice any message.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The silly pranksters do fight evil, but if you can't stand the thought of two boys "with a silly streak a mile long" using a piece of "fake doggy doo doo" to fight a diaper-wearing mad scientist, you may not appreciate their face-off against Dr. Diaper.

Violence & Scariness

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this book is full of gross bathroom humor that many kids find funny. It may be a good fit for reluctant readers, but beware: It's the start of a huge series, and if your kids get hooked, they might be stuck on gross-out humor for a while. Cartoon-style pictures enhance over-the-top jokes and fast-paced action.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 7 and 9 year old Written byMediaMomPhd September 27, 2013

Teaches Bullying

All of the books in this series contain a lot of bullying, which is often presented as justified. There are also portrayals of bullying through the use of tech... Continue reading
Parent of a 8 year old Written byLipstick6 May 9, 2011

Completely Unbeneficial.

If you want your kid to start making bathroom jokes at the table, buy this book. I really think it's closer to the iffy side than anything else. I had boug... Continue reading
Kid, 9 years old August 31, 2009


Teen, 13 years old Written bystan101 May 25, 2012

funny as heck

it really is epic.

What's the story?

Two silly pranksters use hypnosis to trick their principal into thinking he's the crime-fighting Captain Underpants. Dav Pilkey's wacky black-and-white illustrations on every page create a comic-book feel. The pictures enrich and expand the text, and often contain their own jokes. One whole chapter is a visual pun on "graphic violence." Readers use Flip-O-Rama to animate a cartoon battle by flipping the pages back and forth.

Is it any good?

No one would mistake this for fine literature, but it may be a good pick for your reluctant reader. THE ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS is full of corny jokes, bad puns, bathroom humor, and rowdy, disrespectful behavior. If you or your kids can't stand the thought of two boys "with a silly streak a mile long" using a piece of "fake doggy doo doo" to fight a diaper-wearing mad scientist, then this book isn't for them. It's for kids who love a good practical joke and won't stop telling knock-knock jokes, and who'd rather be running around outside than reading.

Cartoon-style pictures enhance over-the-top jokes and fast-paced action.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about jokes. Some parents find the humor really inappropriate here for younger kids. What do you think? This might help parents talk about when certain kinds of jokes are appropriate -- and when they're not -- and what their own expectations are for language at home or at school.

  • This book is part of a whole series of other titles. Now that you've read the first one, do you want to read more? What makes them fun to read? Is it just the humor -- or is it also the comic book stylings?

Book details

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