Book Review: Super Diaper Baby 2, by Dav Pilkey

Dav Pilkey, author of the popular Captain Underpants series for kids, has written a “spin-off” series (of sorts) called Super Diaper Baby.

To celebrate the second book in the series – Super Diaper Baby 2: the Invasion of the Potty Snatchers (available through Scholastic June 28) – Scholastic is sponsoring a book giveaway and “10 Questions with Dav Pilkeytour with five blogs, and Tree, Root, and Twig is the first stop!

super diaper baby 2 book cover dave pilkey

About the book:

George and Harold (the co-stars of the enormously popular Captain Underpants series) are in big trouble again! Their mean principal, Mr. Krupp, has had it with their comic books. But the boys aren’t giving up, and they decide to create an all-new epic novel about a subject they’ve never tackled before!

Dr. Dilbert Dinkle started his career as an ordinary, everyday evil genius/inventor/bank robber. But when he awakens one day transformed into a walking, talking puddle of pee, he vows to destroy every toilet in town. Will the devious Dr. Dinkle and his conniving cat, Petey, ruin restrooms for the rest of us? Or could this be a job for the death-defying, dynamic duo of Super Diaper Baby and Diaper Dog?

MY THOUGHTS:

Admittedly, I share some of the same feelings about this book series as those who find it most controversial. The “gross factor” is off the charts, it’s a bit irreverent, and no, I don’t think it provides the same kind of reading experience as…say…Wind in the Willows or Charlotte’s Web.

BUT…there is an innocent fun here that I think *can* have a place in a child’s list of well-rounded reading material.

Super Diaper Baby himself is sweet and I like how he works together with Diaper Dog to battle the bad guys. I like that there is a loving, in-tact family here with  Super Diaper Baby’s mom and dad supporting their son and looking out for him.

In Super Diaper Baby 2 there is a hilarious spoof on How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and in all of Pilkey’s books, I appreciate the clever Flip-O-Ramas he includes as examples of real-time, interactive animation.

I had the chance to ask Pilkey about the importance of including the Flip-O-Rama sections of the books, and he told me:

When I originally came up with the idea for Captain Underpants, I just made drawings and comics about him. Since he was a superhero, comics seemed like the best way to bring him to life. Also in elementary school, my friends and I constantly made “Flip-O-Ramas” (we called them “Flip-Actions” back then). We even made them in high school.

When I started working on the Captain Underpants series as an adult, I based the characters of George and Harold on myself, so it was only natural that they would make their own comic books and their action scenes would be portrayed with Flip-O-Rama pages.

A great resource for understanding Dav Pilkey’s motivation for writing can be found in Scholastic’s teacher’s guide for using Dav Pilkey books in the classroom. In the guide, Pilkey explains: “When I was a kid, I loved to draw and make up stories. I didn’t worry about drawing things perfectly or spelling things correctly. I just wanted to get my ideas and stories on paper. I loved the freedom that came with creating stories just for fun.” When he started doing school visits as an author, he heard from many students who didn’t consider themselves writers or artists because they thought everything needed to be polished and *just so.* Pilkey says: “My goal at these school visits was to encourage kids to be creative without worrying about being perfect. … And isn’t that what creativity is all about?

I can appreciate that these books are silly, unpolished, and likely representative of the type of material actual elementary school kids (especially boys) would write about themselves. I can appreciate Pilkey’s example to just be creative, no matter what “creative” might look like at first.

At the end of the first Super Diaper Baby book, Pilkey provides a short “how to” for drawing the characters – it’s a great resource for helping kids get started in cartooning. When I asked him if he has any plans to publish a more extensive “How To” book for animation, he told me: “That is something that I have wanted to do for a long time. Right now, I am working on the next Captain Underpants Book.”

Don’t forget to visit the next four stops on the Scholastic “10 Questions with Dav Pilkey” tour:

*Disclosure: I was sent the first two books of the Super Diaper Baby in order to facilitate this review. No other compensation was received. All opinions expressed are honest and my own.

*Original post included a giveaway of books #1 and #2

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