If you aren’t familiar with Dav Pilkey, he is the author of the incredibly popular Captain Underpants Series (among others along the same vein). The Boy loves his books. He cracks up, and reads and re-reads them often. I used to worry that the atrocious spelling in the books might derail The Boy in that subject area, as he has a rather photographic memory that way, but he actually finds the mistakes hilarious, and we often point out each one when reading together.
Some parents are not fans, finding his tone irreverent, and the subject matter bordering on the lines of bad taste. If you actually read the books, you will find that Dav uses parody to point out some of the basic features of going to school these days, and also subtly mocks what passes for education in our times. Lots of levels, just like the old Bugs Bunny cartoons.
Anyway, I purchased what seems to be the latest book for The Boy (Captain Underpants and the Terrifying Return of Tippy Tinkletrousers) as a surprise to pull out on the plane when electronics could definitely not be used. I knew he hadn’t seen it before, and I knew I could count on it to absorb him for a good while…
And then, The Boy got to the end of the book… Where a character actually dies… In a rather violent manner…
The Boy was understandably upset. These books usually end with the bad guy going to bad guy jail, but no one ever gets seriously hurt, let alone gets killed (by being stepped on by giant zombie nerds, leaving a “red, squishy stain”). He kept going back to that page, obviously disturbed by it.
Oh, Dav, Why did you have to go there? I trusted you to entertain my kid without scarring him, because you never went this far before.
To add insult to injury, Pilkey also claims that as a result of this violent death, there will be no more Captain Underpants books. So you kill a character, and then leave the kids high and dry? It does go on to say that there actually will be another book, which ultimately confused the hell out of The Boy, Mr. Literal.
The Boy has decided he is going to write a letter to Dav Pilkey about all of this, which I encouraged, as I hope many others do, as well. I think Mr. Pilkey has forgotten that his audience is made up of children, who while desperately trying to become adults, are still impressionable and trusting. And in this latest book, he has let them down.