Captain Underpants and the Perilous Plot of Professor Poopypants — “Captain Underpants” Series
This book has been reviewed by Focus on the Family’s marriage and parenting magazine. It is the fourth book in the “Captain Underpants” series.
Crude or Profane Language
Drug and Alcohol Content
Other Negative Elements
Fourth-graders George Beard and Harold Hutchins have created their own comic superhero named Captain Underpants. They begin this book by drawing a comic for readers that recaps how they developed the character. They also show how they accidentally brought it to life when they hypnotized their principal. Now whenever someone snaps his or her fingers, Mr. Krupp turns into Captain Underpants and fights crime wearing only his briefs and a curtain for a cape.
George and Harold are up to their usual pranks. They rig the fan in the teachers lounge so staff members become covered in sticky paste and packing peanuts. The science teacher, who has seen enough madness at the school, decides to resign.
Meanwhile, far away in New Swissland, the illustrious scientist Professor Pippy Pee-Pee Poopypants has created various devices to shrink and enlarge objects. He decides to bring his inventions to America. None of the major universities pay any attention to his inventions because they can’t stop laughing at his name. Finally, since he’s running out of money, Professor Poopypants answers Principal Krupps’ ad for an elementary science teacher.
George, Harold and their classmates tease the professor mercilessly about his name. He decides to impress them by bringing in an invention called the Gerbil Jogger 2000. It’s a small, robot-like device with an egg-shaped compartment at the top. When he inserts a gerbil, the long legs of the Gerbil Jogger 2000 spring into action. Professor Poopypants believes he’s finally earned the kids’ respect.
Then he finds a copy of one of George and Harold’s Captain Underpants cartoons in which they mock him and his inventions. In a rage, the professor uses his growth ray to make a gigantic Gerbil Jogger 2000. Then he shrinks the school building, with all of the kids inside, and carries it with him. He demands a pencil, which he also enlarges. As news crews watch, he begins to write silly name charts on billboards. His revenge is to make everyone change his or her name to a silly one, based on the first and last letters in their current names. If they comply, they will not be shrunk like the children and staff of Jerome Horwitz Elementary.
George and Harold know they have to enlist the help of Captain Underpants. They snap their fingers, and Mr. Krupp takes on his hero persona. He’s still tiny, so the boys have to get the professor’s growth ray. They make Captain Underpants as large as the Gerbil Jogger 2000. Then the hero and the professor do battle. Captain Underpants wins, and Professor Poopypants goes to jail. He writes to the boys from prison, saying he’s sorry and that he’s changing his name so no one will ever make fun of him again. The new name he’s chosen is Tippy Tinkletrousers.
The boys dump water on Principal Krupp’s head to revive him, but it isn’t long before a teacher snaps her fingers in his presence. Captain Underpants re-emerges and swoops off to fight crime with his signature cry, “Tra-la-laaaa!”
The narrator says the science teacher job opening in the paper is like a message from heaven for the professor. One chapter title includes, “Are you there, God?” (It appears to be spoofing the old Judy Blume book, Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret.”
Other Belief Systems
The word heck appears once or twice. Several humorous warning pages appear, stating that extremely graphic violence will be shown in the pages that follow. What actually appears is mild cartoon violence, such as a character being punched in the face or head-butted. No blood or serious injuries are depicted.
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Bathroom humor and general grossness: Underpants are mentioned frequently. Silly cartoon drawings, which appear frequently throughout the book, depict Captain Underpants as a pudgy, bald man wearing fitted white briefs and a red cape. The large underpants never reveal any hint of the anatomy beneath. George and Harold rearrange the letters on a sign so it mentions farting. The professor’s name, along with some of the other silly names on his billboards, refer to boogers, anatomy (such as butt and tushie) and bodily excretions (such as poop and pee).
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Readability Age Range
8 to 10