A couple weeks ago we received a free review copy of Dav Pilkey’s (as George Beard and Harold Hutchins) newest book, Super Diaper Baby 2: The Invasion of the Potty Snatchers, which was released to the public on June 28th. GeekMom Amy had provided us a sneak preview of the book after the Book Expo America this past spring and her assessment was spot on: my son’s first graphic novels were from the Captain Underpants series, and he wasted no time on this latest installment.
My oldest son, age 8, read the book VERY quickly (he’s a relatively slow, but thorough, reader), and really enjoyed it.
Like Pilkey’s other books in the series, the author is portraying two fourth-graders named George Beard and Harold Hutchins. The kids appear to be the ones authoring the stories and drawing the comics. Even though the earlier books claim the author is Dav Pilkey right on the front cover, his most recent books don’t show his name on the covers anywhere. You have to look at the copyright page to see Pilkey’s name now.
Caution: Toilet talk-laden spoiler alert!
In the first story in the series, The Adventures of Super Diaper Baby (2002), the hero’s origins were covered. Diaper Baby, named “Billy,” got his powers from birth; he was accidentally dropped into a cup of “Super Juice” right when he was born. Billy and his sidekick Diaper Dog saved the community from an evil…um…piece of poop. The story is complete with a Captain Underpants crossover, which made it very appealing to my sons. Meanwhile, I was reminded of South Park’s Mr. Hanky the Christmas Poo while reading the story.
In the next installment, George and Harold were in trouble with their school principal for writing the first adventure, so they attempted a new set of stories. Since the first book was about evil, um, poop…you can guess what this book is about.
That’s right –pee! A new evil villain emerges — evil Dr. Dinkle. He invented a machine that turns solids into water (so that he can liquefy banks to rob them), and the machine was accidentally turned on the villain, turning him into water. His cat then drank the Dr. Dinkle-turned-water and went potty. So this evil villain tries to conquer the world as a puddle of pee…along with his cat who operates a super cat-robot. He destroys all the toilets in the community and convinces everyone to buy his (stolen) diapers. Super Diaper Baby and Diaper Dog use their super physical and mental powers to conquer the cat, the cat robot and eventually the puddle of pee.
I asked my son some questions about his impressions of Super Diaper Baby 2. Here are his answers. He’s a pretty no-nonsense kid and usually won’t say anything more than what’s asked of him:
GeekMom: What was the story about?
Geekling: A bad guy named Dr. Dinkle who made a machine that was supposed to turn anything into water. But his cat accidentally aimed the machine at Dr. Dinkle, and the bad guy himself turned into water and then he tried to take over the world. Then he was able to rob banks. He slid under vaults as water and took the money. One day his thirsty cat slurped up Dr. Dinkle when he was water, then the cat went potty and Dr. Dinkle turned into pee. Even though he was pee, he invented a robot to destroy toilets so people would have to wear diapers…Dr. Dinkle would sell diapers to everyone and make more money.
Super Diaper Baby is a baby boy who accidentally drank super power juice and then he got super powers and he was able to fly. He saved the day.
GeekMom: What did Super Diaper Baby have to do to get rid of the bad guy?
Geekling: He had to destroy the bad guy’s cat who was controlling the robot. The robot was crushing toilets. Because all the diapers were being crushed, people had to go potty in their pools and had to wear diapers.
GeekMom: How did this book compare to the other Dav Pilkey books you’ve read, such as the earlier Captain Underpants stories and Ook and Gluk?
Geekling: I liked them the same. They’re cool.
GeekMom: What was your favorite part of the story?
Geekling: When the bad guy’s cat went crazy for catnip, which is how the robot got destroyed. The cat said “I’m kookoo for kitty nip” and made the robot bounce around and eventually break. That’s how it got broken.
Sounds really gross, doesn’t it? That’s because it is. Combine that with fourth-grader-quality comic art and the elementary-aged grammar and spelling and you have one of the hottest books of the year for elementary-school aged boys.
My youngest son (age 6) was hovering around my 8-year-old waiting for the book to come available. They were fighting over whose bedroom the books would reside in after they were read! They laughed and discussed the stories as if they were attending a book club. They are awe-struck with how strong Super Diaper Baby is, and they love his trusty sidekick too.
I have to admit being torn on the issue. I shared GeekMom Kris’s curiosity about whether succumbing to toilet humor would be the only way to get my sons interested in literature. My 8-year-old son had not always been the most enthusiastic reader, which was heart-breaking to me since I’m an incredible bookworm myself! Until recently, he would read only when I made him. My parents, my in-laws and I were searching high and low for books that might interest him while he was in Kindergarten and 1st grade. Between the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series and the Captain Underpants adventures, we had found winners in graphic novels. Hooray, we cracked the code!
In summary, even though I was pretty grossed out by the potty humor, I can’t argue with anything that captures my sons’ attention and imagination as well as Dav Pilkey’s books have. Even if I attempted to ban the language and discussion, it’d be a futile effort. I have sons, it’s what they talk about. And like Kris’ sons, they ventured out into other genres: my oldest son is now enjoying the Great Illustrated Classics series and is currently working on Around the World in 80 Days!
Scholastic has graciously offered Super Diaper Baby gift packs to TWO of our readers! The prize packs include:
- Super Diaper Baby 2: The Invasion of the Potty Snatchers
- PLUS the first book! The Adventures of Super Diaper Baby
- Super Diaper Baby Ruler
All you have to do is leave a comment at the bottom of this post by MIDNIGHT Sunday, July 10th about your kids’ favorite book(s). We’ll choose TWO winners at random from all the entries received.