Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

'Captain Underpants' Books Cause a Stink

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

'Captain Underpants' Books Cause a Stink

Article excerpt

Christian Grey has nothing on Captain Underpants apparently.

The S&M-loving leading man and the E.L. James "Fifty Shades of Grey" trilogy that chronicle his exploits elicited fewer complaints at libraries nationwide than the popular young readers series about the scantily clad superhero. The Dav Pilkey titles took the top spot in the American Library Association's annual list of "most challenged" books, those complained about most often at school and public libraries.

Wayne Public Library children's librarians Bernadette Titterington and Linda Lawrence were not surprised to see "Fifty Shades" on the list, but "Captain Underpants" was a shock.

"I've never had one complaint," said Titterington. "They're really popular. Kids are always coming in looking for those books."

Across the country, though, parents are in an uproar about "Captain Underpants" and his potty talk. In North Jersey, however, people seem to take the books' oft-mentioned "poopy" in stride.

"I've gotten some parents who are not thrilled with 'Captain Underpants' potty humor, but none have asked to have it removed from the library," Tenafly Public Library children's librarian Latricia Markle wrote in an email. "I have MANY more who are thrilled that it got their reluctant readers excited about reading."

The "Fifty Shades of Grey" trilogy was in the list's Top 10, however, but not until the fourth spot.

"Captain Underpants" (offensive language, unsuited for age group) was followed by Sherman Alexie's "The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian" (offensive language, racism, sexually explicit) and Jay Asher's "Thirteen Reasons Why" (drugs/alcohol/ smoking, sexually explicit, suicide). Also on the list, at No. 10, Nobel laureate Toni Morrison's "Beloved" (sexually explicit, religious viewpoint, violence).

The challenged books list was included in the library association's annual "State of the Libraries" report (tinyurl.com/ salr2013) which examines how libraries are responding to budget cuts and the financial advice they offer for patrons during hard economic times.

Arlene Sahraie of the Bergen County Cooperative Library System was happy to say she hadn't heard recent reports of any books -- for children or adults -- being complained about locally. …

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