Dav Pilkey’s Captain Underpants series hits the nail on the head when it comes to speaking directly to what makes young readers tick. A super hero wearing nothing but white briefs and a cape is just the sort of thing that catches a kid’s attention.
Now that Pikley’s blockbuster books are available for NOOK, I asked him to reveal why he thinks his books ‘click’ for young readers.
When I began writing the Captain Underpants series, I tailor-made these books to suit all of my childhood “requirements”:
1) They had to be funny.
2) They had to have either robots or monsters in them (preferably both).
3) They had to have TONS of illustrations (I made sure there was at least one on every page).
4) They had to have short chapters (many of them are only one or two pages long).
5) They had to be at least 100 pages long so they would qualify for book reports.
The series was born after my first book came out in 1988. I was visiting lots of schools, doing presentations about how I became an author. During these presentations, I told children about how I invented a superhero called Captain Underpants when I was in second grade. As I told this story, I would draw a giant picture of Captain Underpants, in all his “underpantsy” glory, and the room would EXPLODE with laughter and excitement. At the end of my talks, the first question I would ALWAYS get was, “Are you going to write a book about Captain Underpants?” I’d scratch my chin and say, “Well, gee, I never thought of that. Do you think I should?” Again, the room would explode with cheering and clapping.
I think it was then that I first realized that Captain Underpants might be popular with kids. Now that kids have access to tablets and e-readers, it seems only natural to make the Captain Underpants books available in ebook format. I definitely wouldn’t want to miss the chance to reach kids and encourage them to read, laugh, and be creative.