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Captain Underpants #1

The Adventures of Captain Underpants

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Pilkey plays with words and pictures, providing great entertainment. The story is immediately engaging—two fourth-grade boys who write comic books and love to pull pranks find themselves in big trouble. Mean Mr. Krupp, their principal, videotapes George and Harold setting up their stunts and threatens to expose them. The boys' luck changes when they send for a 3-D Hypno-Ring and hypnotize Krupp, turning him into Captain Underpants, their own superhero creation. Later, Pilkey includes several pages of flip-o-ramas that animate the action. The simple black-and-white illustrations on every page furnish comic-strip appeal. The cover features Captain Underpants, resplendent in white briefs, on top of a tall building. This book will fly off the shelves.

125 pages, Paperback

First published September 1, 1997

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About the author

Dav Pilkey

634 books2,461 followers
David "Dav" Pilkey (b. March 4, 1966), is a popular children's author and artist. Pilkey is best known as the author and illustrator of the Captain Underpants book series. He lives near Seattle, Washington with his wife, Sayuri.

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5 stars
23,271 (46%)
4 stars
11,945 (23%)
3 stars
9,471 (18%)
2 stars
3,404 (6%)
1 star
2,268 (4%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 2,837 reviews
Profile Image for Carmen.
2,056 reviews1,856 followers
August 20, 2016
George and Harold were usually responsible kids. Whenever anything bad happened, George and Harold were usually responsible.

I am not the target audience for this book. However, much like Goosebumps, I cannot help but have a lot of gratitude for a series which got so many kids reading.

Harold and George are a couple of Ohioan pranksters who write, illustrate, distribute and sell homemade comic books called "The Amazing Captain Underpants" about a superhero in his skivvies who fights crime and monsters.

Mr. Krupp, the school principal and is the boys' enemy. He is not merely a put-upon principal struggling to control two misbehaving boys, but he is genuinely a bad person. For instance, when he gets proof of the boys' misdeeds on tape, he blackmails them into becoming his personal slaves - making them wash his car, clip his fingernails and paint his house.

The boys, chaffing under this treatment, decide to hypnotize Krupp using a mail-order hypno-ring.

They use the ring to hypnotize Krupp into believing he's Captain Underpants, and the rest is history.

Although this book is aimed at young children, there is some great humor in it for any adults who may be called upon to read it aloud.

For instance, the boys attend Jerome Horwitz Elementary School. Jerome Horwitz is the man who played Curly in the Three Stooges.

Other scenes play out to both kid and adult humor, like when

"Mommy," said a little boy sitting on a bench, "I just saw two robots driving a van with a guy in his underwear hanging off the back by a red cape, pulling two boys on a skateboard behind him with his feet."

"How do you expect me to believe such a ridiculous story?" asked his mother.

This is funny because his mother is reading the "Tabloid Times" with a headline of "Bigfoot Gives Birth to a 200 Pound UFO Baby."

Or when a sign on the police station reads:


Back in 15 minutes

Please don't commit any crimes 'till we return.

Thank you.

So it's not all poop jokes and diaper jokes, is what I'm saying.

Tl;dr - Not as bad as you are anticipating. Birthed a lot of readers. Also contains humor adults will find funny.
Profile Image for Books Ring Mah Bell.
357 reviews248 followers
May 1, 2012
I heard these Captain Underpants (HAHAHAH! UNDERPANTS!) books have been banned in places.


Foolishness. I can totally understand that some people can NOT handle potty humor. That's cool. But do people really think that kids will read this and be influenced to become "rebels" like George and Harold, the main characters in these books?

Yes, people DO think that because people are dumb.

* sigh *

The boys in the book make comic books that involve their principal, aka CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS!!! The boys do other things that are, well, pretty typical boy things. Anyway, I could think of worse things.

We started with this and read the entire Underpants series. (HAHAHAH! I said UNDERPANTS!!!) Oh yes, Captain Underpants and the Perilous Plot of Professor Poopypants, Captain Underpants and the Wrath of the Wicked Wedgie Woman, Captain Underpants and the Big, Bad Battle of the Bionic Booger Boy, Part 1: The Night of the Nasty Nostril Nuggets we have read them all.

I admit I like these. It was not a pain to read these to my son. I giggled at the immature humor, because I am... immature.

So, yes, the books influenced us to talk more potty talk, but it also influenced my son to start making his own comic books.

BEHOLD! The evils of books!
Profile Image for Sita.
108 reviews58 followers
October 1, 2011
I read this when I was in Year 4, I read it over the holidays and I think I gave it to my little sister (it is now sitting in her bookshelf), but I don't know, there is just something about Captain Underpants and his ridiculous adventures that has me laughing (a lot). I also like the fact that it is basically two storys in one and the author wrote the comic into the story, in the end equals a funny/enjoyable read.
Profile Image for Dream.M.
453 reviews90 followers
December 18, 2020
اومدم دیدم امشب رفیقمون سهیل یک ریویووی توپ برای کتاب سفر پیداش عهد عتیق گذاشته، منم آروم بی صدا با خجالت کاپیتان زیرشلواری رو اد کردم
Profile Image for Ronyell.
955 reviews322 followers
April 13, 2017

Here comes that valiant hero, CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS! “The Adventures of Captain Underpants” is a popular children’s book from the creative mind of Dav Pilkey and it is about the hilarious adventures of George and Harold as they try to trick their strict principal Mr. Krupp, but their trick ends up backfiring on them! “The Adventures of Captain Underpants” is absolutely one of the funniest books ever created!!!


Man, I am going to be saying that throughout this review! Dav Pilkey has done a great job with both the illustrations and writing this book as they make this book full of pure hilarity and adventure! I love the way that Dav Pilkey writes this book in a sarcastic and humorous way as George and Harold are shown to be the greatest practical jokers in the history of all practical jokers as they are constantly pulling pranks on the school and somehow succeeding in their jokes. I really enjoyed the sarcastic humor in this book as it is smart and witty and it strongly reminded me of the humor in “The Stinky Cheeseman” as it plays a satire on the world of superheroes, except this time there is a superhero that runs around the city in his underwear! One of the most impressive characters in this book is Captain Underpants himself as he saves the world but saves it in his underwear! Captain Underpants sort of remind me of Quailman from the Nickelodeon show “Doug” as both characters saves the word in their underwear.


Dav Pilkey’s illustrations are truly hilarious and childish in this book as George and Harold always have mischievous looks on their faces. George is drawn as a child with a tie and a black flat top hair and Harold is drawn to have puffy hair, which makes the two characters look hilarious to children. The illustration that stood out the most for me was the illustration of Captain Underpants himself as he has a bald head and is shown wearing a red cape and is mostly shown in his underwear! Also, I like to point out that the illustrations are in black and white; however Dav Pilkey’s illustrations are so hilarious and childish that many children will overlook the black and white coloring.

Parents should know that this book was banned in many schools because it was considered insensitive and encourages children to disobey authority (I did not really understand the insensitivity part, but I did understand the part about disobeying authority). The main thing that parents should be concerned about is the crude humor in this book such as Harold and George using a fake doggy doo-doo to trick a villain and the cheerleaders being described as having mucus running down their noses after they were exposed to the pepper in their pom-poms and parents who do not approve of crude humor might want to wait until their children get older to enjoy this book. As for the banning, I honestly do not believe in banning books and I thought that this was an enjoyable book for children of all ages, but it was not meant to be an educational book. I think that if the content in this book is really offensive for educational classes, then teachers could use this book as a special treat for children to read if children did some good deeds or did their schoolwork, sort of like a reward for their efforts.

“The Adventures of Captain Underpants” is truly a book that children of all ages can enjoy as it has great humor and spectacular characters and I think this book will be wonderful for children who love reading about superheroes and great humor! I would recommend this book to children ages five and up since the crude humor might be a bit too inappropriate for smaller children.

“Tra-la-laa! Captain Underpants away!”

Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog

Profile Image for Mariah Roze.
1,019 reviews921 followers
May 24, 2018
Read this a super long time ago. I can't even remember if I liked it haha
Profile Image for Matthew.
38 reviews1 follower
March 22, 2008
O CAPTAIN! my Captain! your fearful underpants don't shun;
George and Harold have weather’d every rack, the prize they sought is won;
Evil is near, school bells I hear, children all emoting,
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring:
Underpants! Underpants! Underpants!
Ms. Ribble, mean with eyes of red,
Where on the deck my Captain fights,
Professor Pippy Pee-Pee Poopypants cold and dead.
Profile Image for Heidi-Marie.
3,854 reviews81 followers
August 14, 2008
Well, I can see why boys that this is aimed at love these books. I only read it because it was for banned/challenged/controversial lesson in children's lit class. I avoided them when my little brother read them. The bathroom humor--literally--was never to my taste. But it's a comic book feel and draws in reluctant boy readers. Still, it has so much bad grammar and few if any redeeming qualities...I cringe when I have to recommend them.

Class review: Silly story, appealing to kids who wouldn't want something serious. A mix of a comic book and early chapter book--aimed at children who want to read something ridiculous.
Profile Image for Brian Hodges.
212 reviews52 followers
January 11, 2011
Seriously? THIS is one of the most frequently banned / challenged books of the past decade because (according to an article I read) "it is said to contain offensive language, to be sexually explicit and to be anti-family." Um... unless we're including the word "poo" on the list of offensive words, and we consider a pudgy middle-aged guy in tighty-whities to be sexual, then... yeah I don't get it. This is akin to the parents of MY generation who wanted to ban Loony Toons because they were apparently afraid we'd all run out and drop an anvil on somebody's head before shoving a stick of TNT in their shoe.

This book was harmless elementary school fun, with a few winks and moments of absurdity that only an adult reader would likely get. Frankly it reminded me a lot of the style of humor employed in the cartoon "Phineas and Ferb". Not a series I will PERSONALLY stick with for my own reading pleasure, but I certainly get why kids would love it... though not why their parents wouldn't.
Profile Image for Heather.
993 reviews27 followers
July 3, 2017
A pretty entertaining comic-starter for the youngins. Not something to be taken seriously, and actually kind of funny at times. A very entertaining read about how two boys who love pranks, create the ultimate prank.
Profile Image for Bookworm.
13 reviews
July 7, 2022
*هرولد خرابکاری مصنوعی سگ و یه تیر و کمون سنگی رو از تو کوله پشتی جرج درآورد و داد بهش.
هرولد گفت: مراقب باش. الان سرنوشت یه سیاره توی دست هاته :)
Profile Image for Raghav Bhatia.
312 reviews73 followers
September 22, 2021
*ahem ahem*

Annoyingly good this was. Not all potty humor, though that constitutes most of it.
Profile Image for Stephanie.
350 reviews9 followers
February 24, 2017
My kids loved these back when they were in elementary school! I read this as part of a "Banned Book" challenge and I really don't see why this was so offensive, even for little kids. People will get their noses out of joint for some of the silliest reasons....
Profile Image for Ilse.
482 reviews
June 22, 2015
Haha I loved this. WHY DIDNT I ACTUALLY READ IT BACK IN THE DAY? Oh yeah I was lazy and thought reading was boring.

Profile Image for Indah Threez Lestari.
13k reviews233 followers
October 6, 2013
629 - 2013

#Program BUBU

Pertama kali dibeli dan dibaca pada tanggal 4 Maret 2010. Untunglah bisa kubeli lagi di Gramedia Matraman dengan harga cuma 10k!


Andaikan saja kamar kosku tidak sebegitu sempitnya, barangkali aku benar-benar sudah tertawa terbahak-bahak sambil berguling-guling di lantai (LOLROTF, literally!). Buku ini kocak banget, cocok untuk melepas stres!

Tapi tentu saja, buat anak-anak rasanya perlu mendapat Bimbingan Orangtua, karena George dan Harold, dua tokoh utama di buku ini, adalah anak-anak yang bertanggung jawab (baca: setiap kali terjadi sesuatu, merekalah yang biasanya bertanggung jawab!). Jangan sampai tingkah laku mereka, meskipun lucu, menjadi suri tauladan...;P

Kalau diingat-ingat lagi, buku-buku Enid Blyton juga seringkali tidak memberi teladan yang baik, khususnya serial Pasukan Mau Tahu yang senantiasa mempermainkan Pak Goon sang polisi desa, atau serial anak asrama Malory Tower atau St. Clare yang murid-muridnya suka mempermainkan guru...

N.B. Tergantung anaknya juga sih, buktinya biarpun tertawa-tawa membaca keusilan Pasukan Mau Tahu atau kenakalan para murid Malory Tower/St. Clare, aku toh tidak pernah (tidak bisa? XP) mempraktekkannya di dunia nyata, tetap menjadi anak yang baik, manis, dan rajin menabung...
Profile Image for Kelly H. (Maybedog).
2,485 reviews221 followers
October 27, 2015
This was a book I didnt' want to like. I wanted to find it offensive (because the initial premise is just that: the boys make their principal into the main character which is very disrespectful and embarrassing) but I have to admit: the book is funny. Kids love it and if it gets kids to read, then I'm all for it. This book appealed to kids that I take care of that normally either don't read or only read low-level comic books (I am aware that comic books can be art forms in and of themselves but that's a different discussion.) So, against my better judgment, I have to say, pretty durn good.
Profile Image for Muhamed Mousavi.
35 reviews
August 19, 2020
خیلی بامزه و باحال بود 😊
ساده بود و زیبا و بچه‌گانه و دوست‌داشتنی
برای دقایقی لبخند زدن پیشنهاد می‌شه
در آسمان آبی کودکی پروازمون می‌ده ...

حتما سراغ جلدهای بعدی این مجموعه خواهم رفت.
Profile Image for Kate O'Shea.
524 reviews12 followers
January 4, 2023
I read this for a book club challenge: read a banned book. So, since quite a lot of US school districts have banned it I thought I'd see the horrific violence for myself. To be fair to Dav Pilkey he gives you enough warnings that cartoon people are going to beat up cartoon robots. Utterly ridiculous to ban a children's cartoon book.

Anyway it's entertaining enough. I figure if I was aged between 5 and 8 I'd find it hilarious but I'm not, so I didn't.
Profile Image for Laura.
67 reviews8 followers
March 25, 2007
I came upon this book when working at a Daycare/Kindergarten program. One of the students had decided to read it for Quiet Time. He asked me to read it. I was unaware as to the content of Captain Underpants book. This is a book that should not be on the shelves for Kindergartners. It is inappropriate and vulgar. It is one thing if your the parent and want your kid to read it. I don't have too much problem with that, but I don't believe that it's appropriate for a kindergarten shelf. The language kind of suprised me.
Profile Image for Dolly.
Author 1 book643 followers
June 20, 2010
I've read this before, mostly to check out why it was listed as a banned book. I thought it was hilarious and although our girls weren't too eager at first for me to read it to them, they loved it once we got started. It was a fast read, with lots of cartoonish illustrations and it had lots of tongue in cheek humor that I appreciated. It had "potty talk" in there, but not nearly as much as you'd think.

Jan 2012 - Our youngest is in love with these books now. She borrowed the first book from her elementary school library and read it in one day. Now she wants to read them all...
Profile Image for Jerry.
4,640 reviews56 followers
June 16, 2018
The original was a blast...but it's even more fun in color!
Profile Image for Renee .
408 reviews711 followers
March 7, 2012
This review consists of 2 parts: 1. My son's review (he's 5) and 2. My review (I'm the Mom). The 3 stars represents the average score between us. He gave it 5 and I gave it 1. For the full review, please visit us at www.motherdaughterbookreviews.com


What I liked and disliked about it:
I like the part where they bring Dr. Diaper to the police station and tie him to the pole with underwear on his head and put a sign on him that says “Arrest me!” I think that George and Harold are funny and I would want to be friends with them because then they wouldn’t do bad stuff to me because we would be friends. But, I’m nothing like George and Harold. I like the part where they jump on the robots to kill them even more. I think that Mr. Krupp is funny when he’s hypnotized but he’s like a villain when he’s not hypnotized. I like him better when he’s Captain Underpants. I think Dr. Diaper is funny and a villain because he actually is a villain. He’s very mean because he wants to take over the world by using a machine to try to make meteroids fall on people that are good.

I didn’t like the pictures of Captain Underpants in the comic book because they didn’t look like anything and it didn’t look real – like he actually looks.

My bottom line:
I loved this book because it was very funny. I think that boys my age and older would like this book and I would really like to read more Captain Underpants books.


What I liked and disliked about it:
Let me begin by saying that while my daughter listened in when I read this book to my son, she flatly refused to review this book. We’ll call that a 0 star rating from her! I decided to review this book because it made the Top 100 Greatest Books for Kids recently compiled by Scholastic and was critiqued by myself on this site. I was a bit harsh about this book so I felt it was only fair that I read it and give it a fair shake. Ok, I’ve read it – I don’t like it.

This book (and likely the entire series) relies on flash, shock, and gimmicks to engage the reader. One would need to completely suspend disbelief, have no concept of the link between real actions and real consequences, and not be concerned about any positive message whatsoever. For example, George and Harold do very, very, very bad things; yet Mr. Krupp, the principal is portrayed as the villain (turned superhero through hypnosis). The boys engage in a series of stunts that would get them arrested and sent to a youth detention centre in real life; but what happens in the book is that the principal blackmails them. Remember, this is a kids’ book. I had to (grudgingly) explain to my children what blackmail even is!

There are some parts that are even offensive. In George and Harold’s comic book, the boys yell “Help! The inedible hunk just ate up 15 folding chairs and the gym teacher!” The ‘principel’ responds “Oh, no! Not the folding chairs!” Perhaps I’m just sensitive to the diss to teachers because we are in the midst of a teachers’ strike in British Columbia, but I found this incredibly disrespectful. In fact, the relationships between the boys and any of the adults in the book are all portrayed the same way with Harold and George being extremely disrespectful – not the best role models.

There is a “Flip-O-Rama” section in the middle of the book, presumably intended to simulate animation. This is not a novel concept. Flip books, which required you to flip pages rapidly with your thumb, appeared in Cracker Jack boxes generations ago and they were done soooo much better than this. This is really just a gimmick and the result is that those particular pages are coming out of the book. Well, it’s not such a big loss, really.

Hmmmm…a redeeming quality…let me think…ok, I suppose that the boys’ creativity in writing and illustrating their own comic books is good.

My bottom line:
Let me see…I’m squeezing out a single star only because my son was entertained by the book. I feel it has very little value with regards to literacy (blackmail may be the most complex term used). I cannot decipher any positive message and frankly, I’m quite concerned about how really, really bad behaviour is minimized. There are better books – - really! Seeing as my son gave the book 5 stars, I gave it 1, and my daughter will never admit she even read it, I think this validates the very purpose of this website as a forum for discussing books and literacy among and between caregivers and children.
Profile Image for The Rusty Key.
96 reviews24 followers
October 26, 2010
Reviewed by Rusty Key Writer: Jordan B. Nielsen

Recommended for: Mainly boys, ages 7 to 10, but it could appeal to certain rough and tumble girls as well.

One Word Summary: Impressive.

A fine example of the reason to never judge a book by its cover, (or its illustration-packed pages) if parents withhold Captain Underpants from their kids for fear that it’s not ‘educational enough’, they’ll be depriving them of a witty, loveable, well developed series that could be the one that gets your non-reader hooked on books.

This first installment of the Captain Underpants series concerns George Beard and Harold Hutchins, fourth graders, best friends, and partners in crime. “George and Harold were usually responsible kids. Whenever anything bad happened, George and Harold were usually responsible,” Pilkey quips, a joke that whizzed by me so fast I had to read it twice, and set me up on my toes for the rest of the story. Yes George and Harold have a penchant for mischief, but when they’re not up to no good, they’re involved in their second favorite activity: creating their homemade “Captain Underpants” comic books in George’s tree house, which they photocopy and distribute to their classmates.

Unfortunately for George and Harold, the pièce de résistance of their pranks, the complete sabotaging of their school’s football game, lands them in hot water with the humorless Principal Krupp. Krupp’s had it out for the troublemakers for years, and now finally has the evidence needed to keep the boys under his thumb. Tired of being blackmailed into menial labor by the vindictive and rotund Krupp, the boys send away for a hypnotizing ring that results in the unforeseen outcome of turning Mr. Krupp into the boys’ invented superhero, ‘Captain Underpants.’ And then it’s off to the races.

My this book is smart. Pilkey has struck a pitch perfect note, walking between childish whimsy and razor sharp humor, packaged all in a way that will be extremely engaging and fun for young readers. When evil robots rob a jewelry store (“You know, up until now this story was almost believable” George winks to the grown-up reader) clunky fight sequence descriptions are cleanly replaced by a “Flip-O-Rama” flip book effect, which actually works surprisingly well and jumps right over the fluffy action in a neat couple of pages. We’re even treated to a look inside the boys’ own comic book, with scribbly, ill-drawn characters and misspelled words. But even here Pilkey avoids flat out silliness with touches of deft humor. When a monster attacks the school, a one-toothed child shouts “Help! The Inedible Hunk just ate up 10 folding chairs and the gym teacher!” To which the principal exclaims “Oh, no! Not the folding chairs!”

The love of reading is not an inherent trait, it’s something that has to be learned. At an age when many children become frustrated with books that are forced on them, but hold no interest for them, ‘Captain Underpants’ could just be the superhero for the job. While it may be tempting to saddle kids with brain expanding books, it’s also important to remember to expand their appetite for books, and this immediately pleasing, flat out funny series might just be able to provide both. ‘Tra-la-laaa!’

For more reviews from The Rusty Key, visit us at www.therustykey.com
12 reviews
July 24, 2012
The Adventures of Captain Underpants is the first epic novel in the Captain Underpants series written by Dav Pilkey. The book is about two fourth-grade students, George and Harold, and their comic book hero Captain Underpants. George and Harold are two responsible kids; whenever anything bad happens, they are responsible. In their spare time, they like to write comic books about Captain Underpants; a superhero who dresses only in his underpants and a cape. One day they hypnotize their principle Mr. Krupp into believing he is Captain Underpants. Mr. Krupp, now Captain Underpants, believes he is a superhero who must fight crime in the name of underwear. After he helps the police catch two bank robbers, he must stop Dr. Diaper and his evil robots from taking over the world. With the help of George and Harold, Captain Underpants destructs the robots and defeats Dr. Diaper using the power of his underpants. Unfortunately for Mr. Krupp, George and Harold are unable to change him back to his normal self and he must spend the rest of his life as Captain Underpants.

This was a really fun read and is a good book to get kids into reading. George and Harold are two naughty boys and I think young boys can really relate to them. The words in the book are not complex and each chapter is short. The pictures are also really good and help the reader visualize the action. Captain Underpants promises action, thrills and laughs and delivers all three. All in all, it’s a fun, easy and relaxing read.

I think the book can be read by early KS2 pupils individually. Because the book is easy and fun, it can be used to get reluctant children into reading. In addition, I also believe this book can be read on the carpet to late KS1 pupils. The teacher can hold the pictures up and laugh along with the children.
Profile Image for Melissa Chung.
904 reviews323 followers
January 22, 2020
Every night I read to my children something. It could be an adult book, classic, middle grade or even a comic chapter book like this one. My 12 year old is obsessed with Captain Underpants and so I'm starting the series.

George and Harold are two 4th graders who like to prank their classmates and rile up their principal Mr. Krupp. They are also wildly imaginative and came up with a series of comics called 'The Adventures of Captain Underpants'. They print these treasures out at school and sell them on the playground for 50 cents.

In this episode or book we learn who the boys are, what they like to do and how they created Captain Underpants. I found the illustrations fun and the boys hilarious. I still like potty humor in my "old" age and don't mind reading out loud "fake doggy doo-doo". Not only does it make my kids laugh it makes me laugh and that is what I want for my kids before bed...a good time.

Profile Image for Lucy Banks.
Author 12 books289 followers
February 10, 2017
My two boys think these books are the FUNNIEST things ever. As you might imagine, there's plenty of toilet humour and silliness, but also some very clever plays on words etc. Only one little bugbear - the inaccurate spelling throws my youngest off sometimes, and means he spells the words wrong himself!

Well worth reading with kids aged 5-9ish?
Displaying 1 - 30 of 2,837 reviews

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