The Adventures of Super Diaper Baby

 
Superhero comic novel full of slapstick and bathroom humor.

What parents need to know

Educational value

The only possibly educational value of the Super Diaper Baby books is that the story within the story -- of two boys who write a graphic novel about Super Diaper Baby after their school principal catches them popping ketchup packets on the gym floor, and sends them home to write a 100-page essay on "good citizenship" -- may inspire real children to write a comic or story of their own.

Positive messages

Super Diaper Baby and Diaper Dog are cheerful, clever, and strong, and they stop the bad guys.

Positive role models

It's a stretch, but one could say that George and Harold -- the two characters who write the book within the book about Super Diaper Baby -- set a positive example by turning lemons into lemonade in writing such an enjoyable "essay." Also, Super Diaper Baby and Diaper Dog are little guys who use their powers for good: to defeat big bad guys.

Violence & scariness

The violence in Super Diaper Baby is as cartoony as can be. Incidents include a doctor spanking a newborn, and the newborn later spanking the doctor, a giant poop man (Deputy Doo-Doo) getting tricked into punching himself, and Super Diaper Baby fighting bad guys. Some of the action is portrayed in "Flip-o-Rama," where the reader can grasp one page and quickly flip back and forth between that page and the next, so that it looks, for example, like a short animation of giant Deputy Doo-Doo hitting himself on the head with an uprooted apartment building.

Language

There's lots of potty talk: "poo," "poop," "poopy," "doo doo," "turd."  Also: jokes based on potty talk; Deputy Doo Doo is called a "party pooper," asked if he's "pooped," asked to read Winnie the Pooh. The greatest danger in letting kids read The Adventures of Super Diaper Baby is definitely the risk of hearing this language, and the jokes, repeated ad nauseam. It's also worth noting that as the story is supposed to be a book within a book that's written by two young boys, loads of words are deliberately misspelled.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Dav Pilkey's The Adventures of Super Diaper Baby is the first of two Super Diaper Baby books, and it is part of the humor writer's Captain Underpants series of graphic novels. Like the Captain Underpants titles, this is a comic book-within-a-book that is supposed to have been written by two young boys: George Beard and Harold Hutchins. Super Diaper Baby is a regular baby who becomes a super hero on the day he is born when he accidentally drinks the "super juice" that a villain tried to steal from Captain Underpants. The villain, Deputy Dangerous, is later mistakenly turned into a giant piece of poop. To say there's potty humor in this book would be a gross understatement. The book mainly consists of potty jokes, as well as cartoon slapstick violence and general silliness. It is both a pro and a con that Super Diaper Baby is exactly up the alley of middle graders. On the positive side, many reluctant readers learn to love books by reading Pilkey's hilarious comics, but kids also will learn gross bathroom jokes and language from this book, and the fictional authors, George and Harold, are atrocious spellers.

Parents say

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What's the story?

Dav Pilkey's The Adventures of Super Diaper Baby is a graphic novel spinoff of his Captain Underpants series. Like Captain Underpants, Super Diaper Baby is a super hero, only he is a baby in a diaper instead of a man wearing underwear. He's invented by George and Harold, two schoolboys whose principal catches them bursting ketchup packets in the gym and orders them to write a 100-page essay on good citizenship. The comic is their essay. At the start of their story, an evil villain named Deputy Dangerous and his sidekick, Danger Dog, lure Captain Underpants into a trap so that they can steal the "super juice" that makes Captain Underpants powerful. Danger Dog drinks some of the juice, but the remainder is accidentally consumed by a newborn baby, Billy Hoskins, who then becomes Super Diaper Baby. Later, Deputy Dangerous delivers a diabolical invention to the Hoskins' home -- a crib that will transfer Super Diaper Baby's powers to Deputy Dangerous via satellite. However, Mrs. Hoskins leaves a dirty diaper in the crib, and Deputy Dangerous is instead turned into a piece of poop, whom Danger Dog dubs Deputy Doo-Doo. The good baby and Danger Dog join forces, and battle it out with the poopy villain for world domination. In the sequel, Super Diaper Baby 2: The Invasion of the Potty Snatchers, the villain is a pee monster who steals everyone's toilets so that others will smell as bad as he does.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Read once or twice, Super Diaper Baby is really pretty hilarious. Pilkey seems to have a direct line to the kid sense of humor, and his drawings are adorable and entertaining. The only problem is the humor is almost all of the bathroom variety, and it is soooo funny to kids that they will read it, and talk about it, many more times than adults might want. Parents also must grin and bear the many deliberate misspellings by George and Harold, the same way many of us accept the intentional grammar mistakes in the Junie B. Jones books.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about superheroes. What kind of superpower would you have if you could have any superpower?

  • What kind of comic book would you write if you made one of your own?

  • What do you like about Super Diaper Baby as a superhero?

  • Why do kids think poop jokes are so funny?

Book details

Author:Dav Pilkey
Illustrator:Dav Pilkey
Genre:Humor
Topics:Superheroes, Adventures
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Scholastic Inc.
Publication date:March 1, 2002
Number of pages:128
Publisher's recommended age(s):7 - 10

This review of The Adventures of Super Diaper Baby was written by

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Quality

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Teen, 13 years old Written bystan101 May 25, 2012
age 8+
 

nice

really funny.
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models

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