Friday, September 30, 2005


Bill Gibron examines "What's So Funny 'Bout Pee, Poop, and Underwear: The Controversy Over Captain Underpants" in PopMatters today. I had no idea that Dav Pilkey's Captain Underpants tomes were the fourth most challenged books in libraries and schools (monitored by the ALA). I mean, come on, the humor may not appeal to an adult, but everyone with children know they hold a certain attraction for your average 7-year-old.

Gibron thinks Captain Underpants has been a target for three reasons. First, he writes, "George and Harold are portrayed as spirited little brats, boys of above-average intelligence more than willing to share their prankster secrets with the audience." In other words, there are lots of good tips for young troublemakers here. Secondly, Gibron claims that the spelling, grammar, and "appalling literary form" have attracted negative attention. Finally, Gibron writes, "Believe it or not, people are mad at the books for making kids laugh."

Nice article on the appeal of Captain Underpants and one of several interesting pieces about censorship on the web.

Also of interest is Chris Crutcher's "I don't give a damn 'bout my reputation" for the Book Standard. Camille at BookMoot recently expressed her dismay in a "Know-Nothing Alert" (September 23) with the Limestone County Schools for canceling a Crutcher appearance. Crutcher writes about censorship,

"Our schools are filled with kids who have been treated badly all their lives. They don’t tell anyone, because there is shame in being treated badly. Many—girls and boys—have been sexually mistreated. Still others struggle in fear with sexual identity. They respond with eating disorders, cutting, suicidal thought or action. I can’t tell you how many letters I’ve received from kids who found a friend in one of my books, a character who speaks to them. And if I get those letters, think of the letters Walter Dean Myers, or Lois Lowry, or Judy Blume get, thanking us for letting them know, through literature, that they are not alone. In light of all that, there’s really only one thing to say to the censors. Shut up."

I couldn't agree with him more.


Also in Book Standard, a cheery article on Book-Banning around the Globe by Kimberly Maul.