Monday, April 18, 2011

Book 3: Captain Underpants and the Invasion of the Incredibly Naughty Cafeteria Ladies From Outer Space (and the Subsequent Assault of the Equally Evil Lunchroom Zombie Nerds)

To begin with, that title could have been an entire chapter by itself! But I suppose this is the era of the long title and that's what you get with a series like Captain Underpants. This book was a bit more of the same running gag with a new twist. Now, instead of Mr. Krupp mistakenly believing that he is a superhero named Captain Underpants, he actually will be a superhero, though that development doesn't come until the end of this volume of Underpants. Also, the villains have stepped up a notch. Aliens coming to take over the world and coincidentally choosing Horwitz Elementary as the headquarters of their evil plan was certainly a convenient twist. This doesn't bode well for the rest of the series. Already Mr. Pilkey is resorting to some pretty far-fetched gimmicks to squeeze another story out of his hat.

I'd call this amping up of the series a typical choice though. Harry Potter amped up at book three. So did Gregor the Overlander and Percy Jackson and the Olympians. Book three is usually the game changer for whatever reason. The danger takes a step in the messy direction, the heroes come to some realization of their true potential, things just start to happen. Things are no different in this series. Sorry if I'm letting a secret go here, but the Mr. Krupp edition of Captain Underpants gets superpowers in this book. He actually manages to fight off a mutant dandelion beast, rather than getting caught by the bad guys and waiting on George and Harold to save the day.

There was also one moment here in which George and Harold did something so out of character and noble that I had to read it twice just to make sure I'd read it right. It came as they were trapped in a cage in the aliens' spaceship. George and Harold worked together to do something in the best interests of planet Earth by putting their own lives in danger. When did the two of them grow a conscience? It must have been somewhere between book two and three. Could they be growing a respectable character? Too soon to tell. We'll just have to wait and see, just like whether or not I make it to the end of this challenge.

The next book is the halfway point. The title is a bit shorter, but here comes Professor Poopypants, a real crowd pleaser if Captain Underpants ever created one. I think I've managed to cling to my sanity so far, so keep on reading, because a nervous breakdown can't be far off. My father has concerns that I'm hanging one foot off the deep end here, and I'd hate to just dangle one foot over the abyss without taking the leap at some point.

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