All Hail Captain Underpants
I got a kick out of Missy's post Things I Swore I Would Never Do about buying Captain Underpants for her reluctant reader. Because I remember going through a little internal debate about just the same thing. Captain Underpants was Jason's first "chapter book" that he read on his own. And for that, it will always hold a special place in my memory. But there was a small part of me that questioned whether I should voluntarily give a book that took potty humor to such glorious heights.
But you know what? I am so glad that I did and I would do it again (and have...Jason owns the whole set). The first sight of him laughing his butt off while reading and being thrilled with reading "a whole book" made it all worth it. After all, reading should be about enjoyment, not just "quality". Especially with kids.
And, if you want to know a secret I have since come to value the genius of these books. Yes, they are of, shall we say, questionable content if you come right down to it. But, if you overlook the subject matter, they are actually very well crafted combining text, comics and a hilarious storyline. Not to mention, they seem to tap into something that is very "boy" for lack of a better word. Which Jason just ate up. And Kyle is chomping at the bit to eat up.
This of course, does not mean that I don't want Jason to be exposed to good quality literature. I do. And he is. Lots of it. So I figure that since we read and listen to lots of great quality books it evens out. I do feel strongly that kids need to read what they enjoy...even if that means reading about The Perilous Plot of Professor Poopypants, The Big Bad Battle of the Bionic Booger Boy Part 1: The Night of the Nasty Nostril Nuggets or even The Wicked Wedgie Woman (and as a side benefit we have had lots of conversations about the comedic aspects of alliteration!)
And anytime I get too judgmental, I remember all those Flowers in the Attic books I devoured in high school. But I loved the "good stuff" too and still do! A friend of mine points out that sometimes you just need some "brain candy". I will say that now that I am older, I am much more particular about what I read...luckily there is some really great stuff out there...especially in child's lit!
The great thing is that Jason devours books (especially audio books). He really loves them. Both the ones that I enjoy with him and the ones I have no desire to read myself at all. They are all good.
I actually just wrote a piece for the next VaHomeschoolers Newsletter called Encouraging Reading in "Late" Readers where I talk about ways that I have encouraged a "relationship with reading" with Jason. And yes, Captain Underpants played a role.
So I just wanted to let Missy know that she was not alone. Oh, and Dav Pilkey is a pretty neat guy too.