Thursday, March 3, 2011

Happy Birthday Dav Pilkey - March 4

Happy Birthday Dav Pilkey - March 4


I am guilty. I read books to my children this week that used the words "poopypants"and "dumb".  The books were completely silly and many say they have no educational value what so ever. Even more shameful, I drew Flip O' Ramas (a special feature within some of Dav Pilkey's books) with my daughter that included punching and kicking! (Dav made us do it - he posted a video on YouTube on how to make Flip O' Ramas and we just had to try - just once!)

But, we had so much fun! And we laughed! And we goofed around! And we laughed some more! 

Below is an updated version of my 2010 Birthday Post with lots of information about Dav Pilkey:

National Underwear Day is held on August 5, 2011.  But, today is Dav (pronounced Dave) Pilkey's birthday who is the author of the Captain Underpants Series. So, let's greet our kids or students today with a little undergarment humor and proclaim today "Happy Underwear Day!"

It is silliness that sets Pilkey apart from every other author. From his silly nickname, Dav, that stuck after a mistake on his Pizza Hut name tag ( to the inclusion of his pets into books like Dogzilla and Kat Kong. He is always infusing humor into his books. This is an author who loves to have fun and thrives at being silly for a living.

Dav Pilkey has publicized that it was his struggles in school that ultimately led him to the successful career that he has today.  Back in elementary school, he was a boy that often got in trouble and nowadays would have been labeled as a child with an attention deficit.  The punishment for his shenanigans in classroom was to be sent to the hallway.  It was in the hallway where his career began.  Captain Underpants was actually invented in second grade during those long stints at his hallway desk.  The fact is that Dav Pilkey didn't mind going in the hallway because he always stocked the desk with lots of supplies and his friends all loved the comics he brought back to the classroom.  His teacher often tried to humiliate him into correcting his behavior by tearing up his books and telling him he can't make silly books for the rest of his life.  Things at school really don't change for Dav until college when a professor at Kent State University encouraged him to write.  It wasn't too long after that encouragement that Dav won a writing contest and got his first book published, World War Won at the age of 19. Honestly, it is best that you hear him tell the story of his experiences with teachers by viewing a speech from the International Reading Association Conference.  It is a hoot!

I have a funny story about celebrating Dav Pilkey in my classroom.  I decided he was the perfect author to celebrate with my fourth grade students.  I had a group of 9 boys in a special education class and most of them had reading and behavior difficulties.  I thought the boys would get a kick out of their teacher reading Captain Underpants and the Perilous Plot of Professor Poopypants. I started the book at the beginning of the week and they loved it, but I overlooked the fact that I was going to be out at the end of the week to present at a conference. I wrote up lesson plans for a substitute and thought about postponing the reading of the book until I got back. However, I thought it would be great to have a young substitute teacher sit down at my desk and realize that she would be saying "poopypants" multiple times to a bunch boys.  She didn't leave me any unhappy notes, and the boys said she read the book.  I wish I could have been there!

We read quite a few Dav Pilkey books this week with my children.  My biggest surprise was the reading of Ricky Ricotta's Mighty Robot to my 2 year old son.  I actually asked my 4 year old daughter to listen too, but she was too cool at the time.  I did catch her looking over quite a few times as I was reading.  The reason I was surprised by this book was because my son sat through the story from beginning to end.  The book has 14 chapters, but it is filled with comic-like illustrations and the pages have very few words.  It was his first chapter book!  Many teachers credit Dav Pilkey to inspiring young unmotivated boy readers.  The books just ooze everything "boy" as you read them.

The last book I would like to mention is The Paperboy.  Strangely, it is not a silly book and it won serious recognition through the Caldecott Honor Book award. The book is about a paperboy and his experience waking up early in the morning.  Pilkey was actually a paperboy when he was younger and this book recalls that experience.  I found this story at Dav's website. I would encourage you to go to the website and check out the "Dav's Books" section.  For each of the books there are "Special Notes" that include Dav's thoughts on the book.  The notes give the story behind the story.

I encourage you not to be a "Dumb Bunny" and celebrate Dav Pilkey's birthday this week. Maybe make a funny hat! I wanted to wear the hat to take my daughter to school, but she said it wouldn't be a good idea.

Check Out his new Series Ook and Gluk:

His next book, Super Diaper Baby 2 is set to be released on June 28, 2011. Check out this video of him drawing the cover in 2 and 1/2 minutes:


2.  All of Dav's Books with commentary from him and activities!
3.  Scholastic Captain Underpants Website - Look for the Ricky Ricotta Tab too.
4. Great Lesson Plan ideas - May take some time to load.
5.  Read Dav's 1st Published Book - World War Won
6.  Adventures of Water Man - Read Comics Dav made when he 11 years old

Note: Links and videos updated February 24, 2011.


  1. Love the hat! And love the tooting video! AVR

  2. You know we are just huge Dav Pilkey fans. No need to feel guilty, I once leveled books for our classroom teacher & Capt. Underpants (poop aside) actually has great vocab level! Thanks also for cluing me in on Ricky Ricotta & the Paperboy- our kiddos would love them. What a lot of joy this author brings. Great post.

  3. We LOVE Dav Pilkey and All the Adventures of Captain Underpants. I think that any book that gets your kids excited about reading has great educational value. It is up to us as parent to teach our children that just because something is written in a book does not mean it is ok for us to use in "real" life. It was because of Captain Underpants that my 6 year old submitted something to the Young Authors competition this year!

    1. I will enter into any debate in support Dav Pilkey's books. I totally with your statement - "I think that any book that gets your kids excited about reading has great educational value. It is up to us as parent to teach our children that just because something is written in a book does not mean it is ok for us to use in 'real' life"!

      Congrats to your 6 year old for entering a writing contest. That is very brave!


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