Evans Library’s Favorite Banned Books: The Adventures of Captain Underpants

by Shane Santana

Shane Santana

The Adventures of Captain Underpants, by Dav Pilkey

In 1999, I was working in a public library and came across the children’s book The Adventures of Captain Underpants by Dav Pilkey.  My initial thought was “What in the world is this?” My curiosity got the best of me, and I gave it a read.  I thought the book was absolutely hilarious and the humor was dead accurate for its target audience.  I can completely understand why parents did not like the book, but I also completely understand its popularity with school age children.  I believe Dav Pilkey really got into the mindset of what 10-year-old adolescents find humorous.

As time has passed, “Captain Underpants” has published 12 books in the series and has gained enormous popularity.  However, by 2012, the American Library Association reported The Adventures of Captain Underpants to be one the most frequently challenged books as parents found the book inappropriate for its age group as well as encouraging children to undermine authority.  After reading a few of the books myself, it is clear the intent of the author is nothing more than goofy humor and not in any way intended to encourage children to rebel against authority.  I feel that the parents and schools who banned the Captain Underpants books should really look at it for what it is – immature humor.

Simply put, the books should never be taken too seriously, as it’s very hard to find bad intent with a series of books titled The Adventures of Captain Underpants.

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