Friday 23 November 2012

Captain Underpants and the Terrifying Return of Tippy Tinkletrousers

Captain Underpants and the Terrifying Return of Tippy Tinkletrousers by Dav Pilkey (Scholastic Inc.)
HB RRP $12.99
ISBN 978-0-545 17534 0
Reviewed by Jenny Heslop

George and Harold are back. For those who haven’t met them yet, George and Harold are the heroes who hypnotised their principal Mr Krupp, and turned him into comic book hero Captain Underpants. That was back in grade four.

This story, however, travels way back in time to George and Harold’s kindergarten days where they are facing another fearsome villain and bully, Kipper Krupp (and the nephew of Mr Krupp). Captain Underpants has not yet appeared so cannot help the boys in this adventure. The Return of Tippy Tinkletrousers tells the story of the funny and amazingly inventive way two kindergarten boys defeat the grade six bullies.

The comic book that the boys create - George writes and Harold draws - reflects all the action which takes place both in the school and in the minds of these small boys. The comic books enhance the ability for the adventure to be told through both text and illustration, as do the flip-o-ramas. All this makes for an interactive and interesting reading experience as well as breaking up the text, which helps less proficient readers.

The front cover promises ‘action’, ‘pranks’ and ‘laffs’ and there is plenty all three. But told through George and Harold’s comic books, prose and black & white illustrations, this story is more than just silliness and boy humour (although there is plenty of that too), it is also a fabulously plotted tale of revenge.

The playing around with time travel, which bookends the adventure of the kindergartners, is fun and the ending took me completely by surprise. Boys (and some girls) from about seven years old are going to love this ninth addition to the ongoing saga of Captain Underpants.

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