A FEW OTHER EVENTS FOR
- Happy birthday Jean Little (From Anna) and Lynda Barry (The Good Times Are Killing Me).
- Itâ€™s the birth date of Crosby Bonsall (1921â€“1995), The Case of the Scaredy Cats, Piggle; and of Isaac Asimov (1920â€“1992), Foundation series.
- Happy birthday Georgia, which became the fourth U.S. state in 1788. Read Fame and Glory in Freedom, Georgia by Barbara Oâ€™Connor.
- In 1959, Luna 1, the first spacecraft to reach the vicinity of the moon, is launched by the U.S.S.R. Read Beautiful Moon: Bella Luna by Dawn Jeffers, illustrated by Bonnie Leick and The Moon is La Luna by Jay M. Harris, illustrated by Matthew Cordell.
Today is set aside to â€śRun it up the flagpole and see if anyone salutes.” The concept behind the day, and the phrase, is to get people to try out a new idea. But often for children, these sayings take on literal meanings, such as in Jerry Spinelliâ€™s Who Ran My Underwear Up a Flagpole.
For me today, January 2 is a day for a new ideaâ€”a day of surrender. I have avoided talking about Captain Underpants for thirteen long years. Male friends have teased me about it. Male journalists decried the fact that I did not include it in 100 Best Books for Children. Even when I borrowed the book from the Westwood Public Library, one of the librarians said, â€śI never thought I would see you check this out.â€ť
But while I have been avoiding this book, the Captain Underpants series have sold more than forty million copies, they have made children who think they hate books become readers, and they have made the author a household name. One of the standing jokes in publishing is that if you want to create a bestseller for children you should include flatulence, bodily functions, or underwear in the title. Comedic genius Dav Pilkey knew this a long time before publishers discovered it. Still in touch with the kind of child that he wasâ€”â€śgetting into trouble for pulling pranks, cracking jokes, and making silly comic booksâ€ťâ€”he invented his famous character in second grade. Fortunately, he didnâ€™t listen to the teacher who told him to straighten up â€śbecause you canâ€™t spend the rest of your life making silly books.â€ť As an adult he returned to that characterâ€”Captain Underpants.
In the first book in the series, The Adventures of Captain Underpants, published in 1997, readers meet the two anti-heroes George Beard and Harold Hutchins. The two BFFâ€™s find endless ways to create mayhem and end up spending more time with the principal, Mr. Krupp, than their teachers. After buying a 3-D Hypno-Ring, they hypnotize Mr. Krupp, causing him to run around town in his underpants and cape because he believes himself to be Captain Underpants.
The book contains so much silly, even gross, humor and action-filled drawings that young readers finish an entire book without meaning to. So if you know a young reader, ages six through ten, who thinks books have to be boring, you might as well surrender. Your solution will be the ever-growing seriesâ€”â€ślots of fun, lots of laffsâ€ťâ€”first created in the mind of a prank-playing second grader. Today I am running Captain Underpants up the flagpole. Weâ€™ll see if anyone salutes him.
Hereâ€™s a page from The Adventures of Captain Underpants:
Originally posted January 2, 2011. Updated for .