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Book Review

Captain Underpants and the Sensational Saga of Sir Stinks-A-Lot by Dav Pilkey has been reviewed by Focus on the Family’s marriage and parenting magazine. It is book No. 12 in the "Captain Underpants" series.

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements


Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

George Beard and Harold Hutchins are students at Jerome Horwitz Elementary School. The boys created a superhero called Captain Underpants and distributed copies of their comic to fellow students. Mr. Krupp, their principal, was not amused and told them to stop. When the boys hypnotized Mr. Krupp to keep themselves out of trouble, they had no idea Mr. Krupp would become Captain Underpants. Now, whenever someone snaps his fingers, Mr. Krupp strips down to his white briefs and rushes off to fight crime. The boys always follow to keep an eye on him. When he gets wet, he becomes Mr. Krupp again.

A comic at the beginning of the book, drawn by George and Harold, tells all of this and more. It explains how Mr. Krupp drank alien juice in one episode and now has real super powers. It reminds readers that George and Harold went back in time in the last episode, accidentally creating doubles of themselves (named Yesterday George and Yesterday Harold). When the teachers at their school saw two of each boy, they went crazy and were sent to a mental hospital. The boys also had three new pets hatch. Tony, Orlando and Dawn were half bionic hamster and half pterodactyl.

In episode 12, the narrator talks about a planet called Smart Earth. It is just like Earth but made of an element called Zygo-Gogozizzle 24 which makes its inhabitants geniuses. A Smart Earth scientist causes an explosion and unwittingly sends a piece of Zygo-Gogozizzle 24 to Earth. The element crashes into the mental hospital, which houses all of the Jerome Horwitz teachers. Mr. Meaner, the gym teacher, eats the space rock. The powerful element turns Mr. Meaner super smart. He confuses the mental hospital staff so he and the other teachers can escape. Once free, they make it their mission to control the minds of their students.

Yesterday George and Yesterday Harold go to school while the present day versions of themselves hang out in the tree house. Mr. Meaner tests his noxious formula on Yesterday George and Yesterday Harold by spraying it from metallic nozzles strapped to his armpits. The formula counteracts the ADHD with which both boys have been diagnosed, and they become robotic, model students. The other teachers are delighted, and Mr. Meaner decides to open a factory to produce the Rid-O-Kid 2000 formula. Meanwhile, he uses it on all the kids at school.

When present day George and Harold see Mr. Meaner’s commercial for Rid-O-Kid 2000, they go to school in a long coat disguised as an adult. They see the other brainwashed students doing yardwork for teachers and giving them massages. After the boys convince the kids to destroy the teachers’ property, give them bad haircuts and write on them in permanent marker, Mr. Meaner becomes enraged.

Present day George and Harold use the time machine to send themselves 20 years into the future so they can get help from their adult selves. They discover Old George has a wife and two kids. Old Harold has a husband and two kids. They are well-known creators of the Dog Man graphic novels.

Old George and Old Harold go back in time with the boys to help them destroy Mr. Meaner. The gym teacher has now created a suit called the Stinky-Kong 2000 with which to gas his victims. Mr. Krupp turns into Captain Underpants and battles Mr. Meaner. The police capture the gym teacher, but he grows into a gigantic blob of energy and bursts out of his cell. Now calling himself Sir Stinks-A-Lot, he slithers down the street looking for his enemies.

He absorbs Old George and Old Harold in his blob. This allows him to absorb their knowledge and learn how to destroy Captain Underpants. It also allows them to use his powers. They communicate telepathically with Tony, Orlando and Dawn, and the creatures fly to the rescue. They attack Sir Stinks-A-Lot with a combination of Pop Rocks, Diet Coke and Mentos, causing the blob to explode into outer space. Old George and Old Harold emerge safely, as do Tony, Orlando and Dawn. Mr. Meaner also reappears as his old self.

George and Harold return Old George and Old Harold to their waiting families. Meanwhile, back in the present, the effects of the Rid-O-Kid 2000 have worn off of Yesterday George and Yesterday Harold. They create cartoons in the treehouse.

Christian Beliefs


Other Belief Systems


Authority Roles

The teachers are foolish, immature and mean. In this episode, they are diagnosed as being clinically insane and are sent to a home for the reality-challenged. When they escape, led by the gym teacher, they give all of the students a formula to make them obey and serve. The narrator suggests that most gym teachers are inherently evil, which is why Mr. Meaner uses his new intelligence to harm others rather than to end world hunger or bring peace to humanity. The boys’ feelings are hurt when they overhear that their parents like the behavior of the brainwashed Yesterday George and Yesterday Harold better than real George and Harold behavior.


The word heck appears. The narrator promptly says they won’t be using words like heck, tinkle, fart or pee-pee because those words offend grouchy old people with two much time on their hands. Instead, they will mention things old people like, such as laxatives and hemorrhoid pillows.

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 person being hit in the head or the crotch. No blood or serious injuries are depicted.


George and Harold travel through time and meet their future selves. Old Harold has a husband and two kids. The two men are depicted as sitting close and with arms around each other.

Discussion Topics

Additional Comments/Notes

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. In one of the comics drawn by George and Harold, the teachers strip down to their underwear.

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Episode Reviews



Readability Age Range

7 to 12




Dav Pilkey






Record Label



Scholastic Inc.


On Video

Year Published





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