How can I find books that don't deal with farts, burps, toilet paper, or pranking the teacher?
What, Captain Underpants, Sir Fartsalot Hunts the Booger, and Poop Fountain aren't your idea of literary excellence? We get it. These books are designed for kids going through a certain phase (you know, when the word "butt" can send them into hysterics?). They draw kids in and keep them reading -- which, despite the gross-out titles and potty humor -- is a good thing. And they're really not all bad. It's often only the title that's designed to capture young eyes, and the actual content turns out to be tame. Or the book itself is quality but the language is not to your taste. Kids also like toilet talk precisely because it's forbidden in real life. Reading is an escape, after all.
You may not be able to sell your kids on the books that you want to them to read. Just encourage reading as much as possible. Until they move on to more mature fare, you can use these books, and others, such as Big Nate Out Loud, as an opportunity to talk about role models, respect, and consequences. Now that some of these books are being made into movies (Captain Underpants, Diary of a Wimpy Kid), you could insist that your kid read the books before seeing the movies. And when your kid grows out of this phase, check out the nearly 4,000 kids' book reviews on our website, where you can search books by age, genre, topic, and top-picks lists to find selections that match your kid's age, interests, and reading level -- and that won't make you cringe.