My exploration of favorite children's books, book-oriented websites, travelogues, short story collections, oddball history books, and the occasional unbearable romance novel all mixed up with stories from my life. Brace yourself and enjoy.
We've all done it before, looked down on something that we considered low-brow, silly, vaguely offensive, and probably even crude without trying it first. That's been my encounter with Captain Underpants. I've knocked him down, argued against that eerily simple logic that, hey, at least they are reading, nodded solemnly as a teacher berates his adventures with their lengthy adolescent titles.
But I've never read them.
Sure, I've glanced at one from time to time when it needed some magic tape repair, but even then I've averted my eyes from the print so as to avoid some inadvertant glance at the horrors that almost certainly lay within. And yet, Dav Pilkey saw to it that without any support from any adult anywhere in the professional community, his underwear-clad superhero books became many of the most popular books in a children's library. His books have made it onto the New York Times Bestseller List with some degree of consistency. That's right, librarians! Dav Pilkey has proven he doesn't need us!
And so, today, I embark on a harrowing quest. Like many of the greats who've come before me, I'm taking the plunge into unkempt waters. In the coming week, I'm going to read Captain Underpants. And I'm not going to stop after book one! Oh no! I'm going from book one straight through to book eight. There's no turning back. I have to do this. You see, I just bought the entire series twice over for my library. My previous copies were well beyond retirement condition. I'm fairly certain that my best copy of book four, Captain Underpants and the Perilous Plot of Professor Poopypants, had been whittled down from a 25 chapter, 153 page epic novel to 16 chapter, 97.6 page bundle of tape. In most cases, there was more tape than paper left. I really didn't want to spend my meeger funds to replace them, but the public wants what the public wants. And while I can't stop America's youth from poisoning its mind with dribble, I can come to know the poisonous dribble for what it is.
So I find myself standing on the precipice, ready to fall into the bottomless pit of depravity and body-part humor. I think of my peers: the immortal journalist Nellie Bly, acclaimed naturalist William Beebe, experimental cook Julie Powell, and limited-time environmentalist Vanessa Farquharson. All these heroes had their trials, tribulations, and moments of regret, but did any of them quit? No. Well, mostly no anyway. If they did quit it was only for a few days, and then they were right back at the grindstone. So I'm going to do it. And I'll write about it along the way. To my readers, I can't promise that this experience won't change me, leaving me a hollow shell of the person I am today. But the two of you are probably just here for the awesome background I chose anyway, so who cares?