A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this is the start of a new series from the author of Captain Underpants and is written in the same spirit. There's some rowdiness here -- a dinosaur paints the side of a building with a naked picture of Ook and Gluk, showing their bottoms -- but there's a positive message as the protagonists work to stop the evil Goppernoppers from enslaving their family and friends and destroying the world. Some parents may be bothered by the book's intentional misspellings -- and that characters use words like "poo," "butt," "jerk," "idiot," and "dum-dum." (Also, dinosaurs and cavepeople live at the same time in this book.) But In the end, this is a fun choice for Captain Underpants fans and reluctant readers.
What's the story?
In this graphic novel -- supposedly written by the mischievous protagonists from the Captain Underpants series -- Ook and Gluk live in Caveland, Ohio, in 500,001 B.C., where their pastimes include escaping a dinosaur and thwarting Chief Goppernopper. When an evil CEO from 2222 A.D. -- who happens to be related to Goppernopper -- builds a time portal allowing his corporation to steal natural resources from the past, the chief helps him enslave Caveland's people and capture Ook and Gluk for torture experiments back in the future. But they soon escape and begin kung fu training in order to save their people ... and the world as they know it.
Is it any good?
Don't buy this book looking for literature, but if your kids like silly stories with a little heart -- and you can handle the misspellings and mayhem -- then give it a try. The jokes are right on target for the age (for example, a billboard advertising "I drink delishous warm apple cider from Pitsburgh fruit juice company!!!" is zapped with a laser gun and then "I drink arm pit juice"), and readers will appreciate the "flip-o-ramas" that come with each chapter (flip pages back and forth to watch Lily the dinosaur vomit, and much more!).
But even through all the rowdiness, Ook and Gluk try to do good for their friends and the planet -- and Ook even begins a sweet romance with Lan, the daughter of his kung fu teacher, who agrees to become his caveman wife.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the misspellings in the book, which are used to indicate that it's being written by George and Harold from the Captain Underpants series ("torture" is spelled like "torcher," for example). Do you find these misspellings part of the fun, or do they distract from the story?
How is reading a graphic novel different than reading a book? Which do you prefer? How would this book have been different if it had been written as a regular novel?
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