A Letter to Teachers
When I was a kid, I loved to draw and make up stories. I didn’t worry about drawing things perfectly or spelling things correctly. I just wanted to get my ideas and stories on paper. I loved the freedom that came with creating stories just for fun.
Once I got published, I spent years traveling to different schools and talking with kids about my books. During these school visits, I was surprised to learn that most kids didn’t consider themselves to be artists or writers. Most kids thought they had to be able to draw Garfield perfectly to be an artist. They had also convinced themselves that they needed to spell perfectly in order to be writers. Everywhere I went, I met kids who were stifled creatively because of their fears of imperfection.
My goal at these school visits was to encourage kids to be creative without worrying about being perfect. I showed kids examples of Impressionists who drew houses upside down, painted freely, and broke all the rules. Much to the dismay of the teachers in the room, I also gave examples of famous writers and poets who didn’t use conventional spelling, grammar, and punctuation. I think the kids I spoke with were inspired by these examples, but I wanted to reach more kids, all over the world.
That’s how Captain Underpants came along. I designed each book to contain two or three “mini-comics” which were created by the stories’ protagonists, George Beard and Harold Hutchins. George and Harold’s simple, silly, and wildly imperfect mini-comics turned out to be one of the most popular parts of each book. My hope was that George and Harold’s “imperfect examples” would give kids permission to invent their own stories without concern for perfectionism, and so far, it seems to have worked. Every year, I get hundreds of original comics and stories mailed to me from kids. These kids didn’t make their comics because of a school assignment. None of these stories were proofread or graded or marked up with a red pen. These stories were all made for one reason—for fun!
And isn’t that what creativity is all about?
Part 1: A General Guide to Using Dav Pilkey's Books in the Classroom
Dav Pilkey’s books are jam-packed with sidesplitting humor and fast-paced action. His characters come alive and engage the reader from beginning to end. Use your students’ enthusiasm for Pilkey’s books to enrich your language arts curriculum.
Exploring Character Traits
George Beard and Harold Hutchins, two outrageously mischievous, creative, comic bookwriting fourth graders from the hilarious Captain Underpants series, are certain to inspire your students to want to become authors and illustrators of their own comic book adventures.
Encourage your students to create an original superhero. Explore the qualities that define a superhero. Work with your students to brainstorm a list of character traits they feel would be essential for a superhero to possess. You may want to start them off with a few examples, such as, brave, confident, daring, imaginative, strong, etc. Post your list and have students add to it as they discover new word choices.
Once your list has been established, encourage your students to write a story about their superhero. Suggest that the superhero act in ways that demonstrate the character traits he/ she may possess. Have your students create an illustration of their superhero to go along with their stories.
Using Descriptive Language
Action and adventure are essential elements of Dav Pilkey’s books. They provide the teacher and the student with a wonderful opportunity to explore the use of powerful verbs and descriptive language.
Have your students work cooperatively to find and list the verbs found in pre-selected sections of Dav Pilkey’s books. They will see that their lists will soon begin to contain words such as demanded, shouted, screamed, whimpered, cried, and laughed. Discuss how these words help Pilkey’s stories come alive and how important word choice is to good writing. Ask your students to write a conversation between two characters using these vivid verbs.
Demonstrate the correct use of punctuation when writing dialogue: quotation marks, commas, periods, question marks, and exclamation marks.
Introducing Graphic Novels
Introduce your students to the format of graphic novels, which are stories written and illustrated in the style of comic books. Use a Venn diagram to compare and contrast graphic novels with chapter books. What do your students notice that these formats have in common? What are some of the differences? Generate a conversation regarding the elements of graphic novels. For example, the pictures and narrative tell a sequential story. Quotation marks are not necessary because the dialogue appears in speech bubbles.
Challenge your students to create an original comic strip. Remind them that it is easier to write the dialogue first and then enclose it in a speech bubble!
Writing a Friendly Letter
Help improve your students’ persuasive letter-writing skills by having them write to their favorite Dav Pilkey character! Who will they choose? Will it be Captain Underpants, George, Harold, or maybe even mean Mr. Krupp?!
Begin by reviewing the five parts of a friendly letter: the heading, greeting, body, closing, and signature. Then have your students try to persuade their favorite character to come visit their school. Encourage your students to be clear about the benefits of visiting the school from the character’s point of view.
For example, a student may appeal to George and Harold by stating that the principal of their school is fair and open-minded (unlike mean old Mr. Krupp), and that he/she enjoys creative children. Therefore, visiting their school would be a pleasant and enjoyable experience for George and Harold.
Infusing Spelling Instruction
While George and Harold are clearly creative, they could certainly use some help with their spelling. Borrow time from formal spelling instruction by integrating spelling training with writing. Challenge your students to use their weekly spelling lists to find and correct the errors found in George and Harold’s comics.
Part 2: A Guide to Using the Two Latest Captain Underpants Books in the Classroom
Captain Underpants and the Terrifying Return of Tippy Tinkletrousers
Quick! Grab your red cape! It’s here…the moment Captain Underpants fans have been waiting for. George Beard and Harold Hutchins are finally back…in kindergarten!!!! Yes, Captain Underpants and the Terrifying Return of Tippy Tinkletrousers transports us back in time to the beginning of George and Harold’s budding friendship.
Since George and Harold don’t actually invent Captain Underpants until fourth grade, the two clever kindergartners have only their own brainpower to rely on, as they prepare to battle the bullies at Jerome Horowitz Elementary School. Your students will howl at the hilarious antics of George and Harold as they toil together to defeat the despicable Kipper Krupp—nephew of the clueless school principal—and his cronies. After all, everyone knows it takes brains, not brawn, to beat a bully.
Create a Bully-Free Classroom
Best buddies George Beard and Harold Hutchins are not about to let the bullies at Jerome Horowitz Elementary School steal their lunch money and make their lives miserable! They know the best way to deal with a bully is to use your wits, not your mitts! Help your students feel safe, and provide a welcome place of learning with the help of these simple bully prevention activities.
Be Direct—Define Bullying
Lead your students in a discussion about the types of bullying they are most likely to encounter in school: physical, emotional, and verbal.
- Physical bullying involves hitting, pushing, kicking; any unwanted physical contact.
- Emotional bullying is bullying that may cause damage to a person’s emotional well-being. Making fun of others, purposely excluding others from activities, and spreading rumors are all examples of emotional bullying.
- Verbal bullying is bullying that causes emotional distress due to slanderous comments. Name calling and negatively commenting on someone’s looks, clothes, or actions are examples of verbal bullying.
Create an anchor chart that clearly illustrates the types of bullying elementary school children encounter most often and display it in your classroom. Refer to it throughout the year as needed to help your students understand and recognize common forms of bullying.
Pledge to Be Bully-Free
Empower your students! Work together to create a “bully-free” pledge. The pledge should be comprised of a few key phrases your students can easily remember to help them handle bullying.
Have your students take ownership of the pledge by signing their names on the document. Proudly display the pledge just outside your classroom door. Teachers, administrators, and students throughout your school will have no doubt that they are entering a bully-free zone every time they walk through the doors of your classroom!
A Recipe for Friendship
George and Harold have the perfect recipe for friendship. A cup of cooperation, a smidge of smarts, a gallon of good ideas, and a whole lot of humor combine to make them friends for life!
Have your students write a “Friendship Recipe.” Their recipe should include the most important “ingredients” of a friendship. Is it kindness, respect, cooperation? What really goes into a friendship?
Once your students have settled on their ingredients, remind them that a good cook combines ingredients in a special way to create the perfect dish. Have them explain how they would combine their ingredients to become a good friend.
Advanced chefs may wish to go beyond the basic recipe and provide step-by-step directions for making new friends.
This is an activity you and your students are sure to eat up!
George and Harold, the daring duo from Jerome Horowitz Elementary School, find themselves unjustly imprisoned in detention for defending themselves against a pack of brutish bullies. Are they disconcerted, discouraged, depressed? No way! They make the best of a bad situation, combine their creative talents, and lo and behold, Tree House Comix, Inc. is born!
Motivate your students to explore their own creativity. Create “Writing Buddies” by pairing students together. Encourage them to write in the style of George and Harold!
Have your students create original comic books. As one student in the pair writes the copy for an original comic book, the other student can create the illustrations. You can be sure that once you start this writing buddy activity the partners will want to switch roles. What a great opportunity to create a sequel for the original comic book! Be sure to have plenty of pencils and paper on hand. And make room on your bookshelves! Your class library is about to explode with hundreds of hilarious pages of original comics.
Challenge your students to find examples of alliteration in Captain Underpants and the Terrifying Return of Tippy Tinkletrousers. Remind them that alliteration is simply when two or more nearby words have the same beginning sound—like in the title of the story!
Some great examples of alliteration can be found on the following pages of Captain Underpants and the Terrifying Return of Tippy Tinkletrousers.
p. 41 “I’m going to put an end to that nonsensical nuisance, Captain Underpants!”
p. 68 “ He ducked his head beneath the cockpit of the Robo-Suit and disappeared down a stairwell into the intricate innards of his intimidating invention.”
Totally Terrific Tongue Twisters
Your students will have a blast building their own tongue twisters! Here’s how:
- Have each student write his/her name on a strip of paper and ask them to place the paper into a large container; a big shopping bag works well.
- Shake up the shopping bag and give each child a name strip, making sure no one gets their own name. Students create a tongue twister about the person whose name appears on the paper strip they received.
- To make it a bit easier, you can have your students fold a piece of paper into four columns, lengthwise. They can label each column with the following parts of speech: nouns, adjectives, verbs, and adverbs. Students can use this paper to help them organize their word choices. Remind students that they should only say nice things about their classmates!
- Keep a supply of dictionaries and thesauruses nearby; they are sure to be well used during this activity.
Students can illustrate their finished tongue twisters. Completed creations are sure to become a totally terrific bulletin board!
Captain Underpants and the Revolting Revenge of the Radioactive Robo-Boxers
Tippy Tinkletrousers continues to cause trouble for George Beard and Harold Hutchins with his time-traveling antics in Captain Underpants and the Revolting Revenge of the Radioactive Robo-Boxers. Join George, Harold, Crackers, and Sulu as they pile into the Purple Potty, and travel back in time in an attempt to outrun Tippy Tinkletrousers and his ice-blasting Freezy-Beam 4000! Will they be able to save the planet? More importantly, will they be able to save Captain Underpants?!
Luckily, the Purple Potty placed George, Harold, Crackers, Sulu, and Mr. Krupp…er, Captain Underpants…right in the middle of the Cretaceous period! But time flies when you’re having fun, or being chased by an evil villain! Before you know it, George, Harold, Sulu, Crackers, and Captain Underpants zip through the Cenozoic era straight into the Pleistocene epoch.
It’s a good thing George and Harold put their heads together and decided to draw Tippy and his big ol’ Robo-Pants on the cave wall. How else would they have been able to get the cave people to help them defeat their evil nemesis?
Explain to your students that cave paintings are most often found on cave walls and ceilings, especially the paintings of prehistoric times. While no one can truly be certain of the exact purpose of the paintings, it is believed that they were not just used for decorative purposes, but also as a way of communicating with others. Some cave paintings may have had a religious or ceremonial purpose.
Create a Cave Painting
Have your students follow these steps to create their own “cave painting.”
- Provide each student with a piece of watercolor paper.
- Have them paint the whole piece of paper with a thin coat of brown tempera paint.
- Allow the paper to dry.
- When the paper is dry, crumble it up into a ball. Smooth it out. Crumble it again if it does not look crinkly enough.
- Students should tear about a ½ inch off of each side of the paper. This will give it a rustic look.
- Your students can then paint simple animals, people, or symbols on their papers. Use books or slides that show original cave paintings. These may help give your students some ideas for their paintings. Students can also use their own imaginations of what caveman life was like, especially for hunters.
- Display the paintings when they are dry.
Freeze! It's the Ice Age!
Brrr! George and Harold narrowly escape a frigid demise as they race to free Mr. Krupp from Tippy’s treacherous trap. Your students are certain to be curious about those giant blocks of ice that almost froze the whole gang!
Making a Glacier
This activity will take two days to complete. Students will work in groups of four.
Provide books or articles for your students to read to help them answer the following questions: What is a glacier? How and why do they move?
- Give each student a paper cup. Have each student put his/her name on the outside of the cup.
- Then, fill the cup with some dirt, gravel, and water that has been colored with blue food coloring.
- Place the cups in the freezer overnight.
- Remove the “glaciers” from the freezer.
- Provide each group with a greased baking sheet and 2 cups of flour.
- Students should take turns sprinkling the flour over the baking sheet. They are creating a land surface.
- Once the “glacier” is a bit melted, and therefore easier to remove from the cup, students should line the “glaciers” up at one end of the baking tray (land form) and scrape them across to the other side.
- Pick up the “glaciers.” Remark on how they are still solid, and talk about the path left in the flour.
- Allow students time to record (illustrate) what the glacier path looks like. Have them label their diagram.
Communicating Without Words
A picture can be worth a thousand words…especially when you’re communicating with cave people! Here’s a fun game to help your students get their point across without saying a word!
Play Picture This!
- Split your students into four or five groups. Each group is a team.
- Make a set of 20-30 cards. Choose words that will be fun for your students to illustrate, such as names of animals, places, characters, or anything that fits in with your current unit of study. Write the words on the cards and mix them up in a large bag.
- One member of a team picks a card from the bag, making sure no one else can see it. Once they have seen the word, they have 2-3 minutes to draw a picture of it on a dry erase board or piece of paper. They may not speak, or draw letters or numbers. Team members try to guess the word, while the rest of the class is silent. A point is earned for each correct guess.
- Continue with the other teams until everyone has had a turn.
Part 3: A Guide to Using The Adventures of Ook and Gluk, Kung-Fu Cavemen From the Future in the Classroom
Prepare to travel back in time with Dav Pilkey’s endearing, plucky, kung-fu cavemen, Ook and Gluk! Use their hilarious adventures as a springboard for bringing science, environmental awareness, and the peaceful resolution of conflicts to life in your classroom.
Ook and Gluk live in prehistoric times…along with a couple of dinosaurs! Your students are sure to question this scientific anomaly. Did dinosaurs and humans live during the same time period? The Adventures of Ook and Gluk, Kung-Fu Cavemen from the Future will provide students with a variety of opportunities for scientific inquiry—starting right at the beginning with the “Scientific Disclaimer,” followed by the “Scientific Disclaimer Disclaimer,” and continuing with questions about whether time travel could ever be possible.
Exploring the Mesozoic Empire
Engage students in a discussion about dinosaurs and the Mesozoic Era, also known as the “Age of the Dinosaurs.” Guide students to understand how life on Earth was during this period. Provide them with examples, such as: the climate was warmer, seasons were mild, there were no polar ice caps, and the continents were pushed together to form Pangaea. Work with your students to conduct the following experiment, which will explore the formation of continents and geographical landforms on our planet.
Take a hard-boiled egg and crack its shell. Ask your students if it reminds them of anything. Lead them to see that the egg could be a tiny model of planet Earth. The shell is Earth’s crust, divided into plates. Within the shell lies the mantle. Move the shell around and show the students how the “mantle” seems to buckle in other places. Remind them that this is happening on Earth now. This is what causes the formation of mountains, creates earthquakes, and makes changes on the ocean floor.
Conducting Dinosaur Research
Lily, the tiny, ferocious, upchucking dinosaur, is certain to capture the hearts of your students. But exactly what kind of dinosaur is Lily? Is she a Tyrannosaurus rex, an Albertosaurus, or possibly a Velociraptor?
Invite your students to conduct research on these three dinosaurs. They should also be able to find information identifying which prehistoric period their dinosaur was alive. Have them discover if their dinosaur was an herbivore, a carnivore, or an omnivore. Can they find information about their dinosaur’s enemies? Students should also research their dinosaur’s appearance. What did it look like? Did it have any distinguishing characteristics that helped it adapt to its environment? Students can present their findings in a diorama to share with their classmates.
Creating an Ecosystem
When Ook and Gluk are forced through the time portal to the year 2222 AD, they find themselves at the mercy of J. P. Goppernopper. Goppernopper is the C.E.O. of the world’s most evil corporation. He uses his time portal to travel to Caveland, Ohio, in order to steal all the trees, oil, and water in the land. It is up to the heroic Ook and Gluk to save the day— and Caveland’s natural resources.
Engage students in a discussion about the importance and finite supply of the world’s natural resources. Work together with your students to brainstorm possible ways to preserve them. Some examples may include shutting off lights when leaving a room, biking or walking to school instead of being driven, conserving water when brushing teeth, and planting trees in the community.
Encourage your students to try their hand at directly caring for their own little piece of the environment. Provide them with an opportunity to create an ecosystem. Each student will need the following items in order to construct his/her terrarium.
- 1 washed and empty 2-liter soda bottle
- About 3 cups of potting soil
- 4 to 6 bean seeds
- 1 teaspoon of grass seed
- Enough water to moisten the soil
- Optional: a small snail or worm
(Step 1 must be done by an adult!)
- Cut off the top of the soda bottle just before the neck tapers toward the cap.
- Save the top and the cap for later use.
- Place potting soil in the bottom of the soda bottle. Gently tap the base to settle the soil.
- Push the bean seeds into the soil.
- Sprinkle grass seed on top of the soil.
- Lightly sprinkle water on the soil until it is damp, but not soaking wet.
- Add a small snail or worm to your terrarium.
- Gently fit the bottle part from Step 1 into the bottle part with the soil and seeds.
- You may tape the two parts together if you wish.
- Place the terrarium in a warm, sunny spot. It should not require water again!
Solving Conflicts Peacefully
Master Wong teaches Ook and Gluk that the mind is a mighty warrior in the battle for truth and justice! He helps them discover that walking a path of peace requires patience, wisdom, and, okay, maybe a little bit of kung fu. Have your students practice settling their differences peacefully. Create a list of key words that can be used in your classroom. These words will be instrumental in helping your students take responsibility for resolving conflicts peacefully. For example, consider posting phrases such as:
STOP Stop your behavior.
SAY State the problem.
LISTEN Listen to the other person’s point of view, then restate the problem from their point of view.
THINK Brainstorm solutions to the problem.
CHOOSE Choose a plan and put it into action.
Role-playing activities will provide your students with the opportunities they need to practice these skills. You may wish to provide the following scenarios:
- You have arrived at the playground to play basketball with a group of your friends. You take a shot at the basket and miss. Someone starts to make fun of you. What would you say to that person?
- Your favorite eraser is missing from your desk. You notice a classmate appears to have one just like it. What would you do next?
- At recess your friend has told you that you cannot join in the game. How would you react?
It won’t take long for your students to see that they too can walk the path of peace—minus the kung fu!
Part 4: A Guide to Using the Super Diaper Baby Books in the Classroom
QUICK! Grab hold of copies of Dav Pilkey’s The Adventures of Super Diaper Baby and Super Diaper Baby 2: The Invasion of the Potty Snatchers before they go flying off your bookshelves… and get ready to be blown away by the world’s most powerful, pint-sized superhero! Dashing across the universe wearing a teeny diaper and a bright red cape comes Super Diaper Baby, accompanied by his fearless tail-wagging sidekick, Diaper Dog! This crime-fighting duo is sure to keep your students captivated with their hilarious action-packed adventures. Each book is jam-packed with scientific mishaps, out-of-this-world problem solving, and riotous robots!
Solids, Liquids, and Gases
Super Diaper Baby and Diaper Dog work hard to stop Dr. Dilbert Dinkle from taking over the world when his cat, Petey, accidentally liquefies him in Super Diaper Baby 2. Your students will likely wonder if it was magic that turned Dr. Dinkle into a big, evil, ice monster. Of course not! It was simply the physical change that occurs when a liquid is frozen.
Try this yummy experiment with your students to help demonstrate how solids, liquids, and gases interact with one another.
You will need the following materials:
- Enough root beer for the entire class
- One scoop of vanilla ice cream for each student
- A classroom supply of tall plastic drinking cups
- An ice-cream scoop
- A roll of paper towels, for spills
- Place one scoop of ice cream into the plastic cup.
- Have your students predict what they think will happen if root beer is poured over the ice cream.
- Record their predictions on chart paper.
- Pour a ½ cup of root beer over the ice cream.
- Try the experiment one more time. This time try adding the root beer to a drinking cup first, and then add the ice cream. Did your students notice any changes? (There is usually more foam when the experiment is conducted in this manner).
Review the students’ predictions on the chart paper. Discuss the results of the experiment. Lead your students to identify that the ice cream (solid), when mixed with the root beer (liquid) produces a foamy top (carbon dioxide/gas).
Reduce, Recycle, Reuse, Robotics
Super Diaper Baby and Diaper Dog not only save the world from evil scientists and other bad guys, they must also find a way to stop their robots from wreaking havoc on the world. Defeating the Robo-Ant 2000 in Super Diaper Baby, and the Robo-Kitty 3000, the fearsome potty crunching robot created by Rip Van Tinkle in Super Diaper Baby 2, proves to be no problem for Dav Pilkey’s tiny, but tough, superheroes. Engage your students in a discussion about robots. Encourage them to learn more about robots and what makes them tick!
Warning: Your classroom is about to be turned into a super-duper science lab. Be sure to have plenty of cardboard tubes, cereal boxes, empty plastic soda bottles, masking tape, and plenty of other recyclables on hand to create a lab that will foster the utmost creativity in your young scientists.
Simple Robot Facts
- A robot is a man-made machine that is able to perform work or other actions normally performed by humans, either automatically or with a remote control.
- Robots can do boring jobs or jobs that may be too dangerous for humans.
- Robots are used in factories.
- Robots can be used for exploration.
- Robots consist of three main parts: the controller (the brain of the robot), mechanical parts, and sensors
- Robots are tools we use to help get things accomplished.
Have your students use their scientific inquiry skills to design and create their own friendly robot. Pose the following questions to your students:
- What type of job or task will your robot perform?
- What type of person do you think will find your robot most useful?
- What kinds of problems might be solved as a result of your robot’s work?
- Once your students have determined the purpose for their robots, they will be ready to design and assemble their creations. Encourage your students to sketch their designs on paper. They should make a list of materials they will need to create their robots. When they have finished sketching and making their lists, they can begin to assemble their robots.
- The creation of so many rockin’ robots at one time may require more than just two adult hands for one class! This is an excellent opportunity to involve parent/guardian volunteers in the classroom.
Super Diaper Baby may only be able to scribble a few words here and there, because that’s what babies do! But your students are more than ready to break out their favorite pencils and brag about their new inventions!
When your students have finished building their robots, have them write and illustrate an awesome advertisement describing the usefulness and special “mechanical” features that make their robots unique. Be sure to display the advertisements throughout your school. Your students are sure to enjoy all the attention given to their one-of-a-kind creations.
Sometimes the littlest people can perform in ways that make a BIG difference. In Super Diaper Baby 2, Super Diaper Baby demonstrates the importance of recognizing positive qualities in others. Why, just look at how he was able to encourage his dad to stand up to the evil ice monster! Use Super Diaper Baby’s empathy for others to build your students’ sense of worth. Try these fast-moving, fun activities to help foster positive self-esteem in your students.
Note: You will need enough Post-it notes so that each student can be given at least four.
- Generate a list of compliments that would be appropriate for your grade level. Focus on qualities that are mostly intrinsic, not extrinsic. List the qualities on chart paper for the class to view. Some qualities that may appear on the chart could be: intelligent, kind, athletic, humorous generous
- List as many qualities as you can in a fifteen-minute period.
- Then give each student four Post-it notes.
- Instruct the students to walk around the classroom and place a blank Post-it note on a friend’s back. Remind students that everyone likes to be included, so each student should have at least two Post-its on their back at the conclusion of the activity. Allow five minutes for students to travel around the classroom to place their Post-it notes on their friends’ backs.
- Gather in a circle. Students should help one another remove the Post-it notes. Students go around the circle offering compliments to one another based on the number of Post-it notes collected. For example, if a student had three Post-its on their back, their classmates will offer three compliments.
A Book of Compliments
An alternative to the Kindness Counts activity is a quick paper-passing activity.
- Each student will need a piece of paper with his/her name on top.
- Students should sit in a circle with their papers and a pencil.
- On the count of three, all papers are passed clockwise. Each student will write a compliment for the student whose paper they are holding. The papers are passed in this manner until the students once again have their own papers. At this point they may keep their papers, the teacher may keep them for a class book, or you can even present the papers to each student on their birthday! What a “complimentary” gift!
Part 5: Discussion Questions
There’s a lot to talk about in Dav Pilkey’s books! Ask students to contribute their ideas.
Discussion Questions for Captain Underpants and the Terrifying Return of Tippy TinkleTrousers
- George Beard and Harold Hutchins are unjustly accused of bullying Kipper Krupp, Loogie, Bugg, and Finkstein. They are sent to detention. Do you think that Mr. Krupp made a fair decision? Why or why not?
- Harold Hutchins thought it would be best just to fit in and not draw any attention to himself at Jerome Horowitz Elementary School. Is it better to fit in and be like everyone else, or is it better to be yourself…even if you are different, and stand out? Explain.
- George Beard believes that big people usually have all the power. He thinks it’s important to be smart. Can you tell me some ways you can be smart when you feel like someone else has all the power?
- George Beard’s mom wants him to wear a tie on the first day of school so that he will make a good impression. How important is it to you to make a good impression when meeting someone for the first time? What do you think it takes to make a good first impression?
- George and Harold use clever tricks to outsmart the school bully, Kipper Krupp. How would you handle a bully? What is important to remember if you are bullied at school? What might you do if you see someone else being bullied?
Discussion Questions for Captain Underpants and the Revolting Revenge of the Radioactive Robo-Boxers
- Tippy Tinkletrousers can travel just about anywhere with his Tinkle-Time Travelometer. Where would you rather go…to visit the cave people or to see the glaciers during the Ice Age? Why? Who would you take with you?
- If you could choose one invention to have for your very own, which would it be? The Purple Potty, the Extendo-Flex-Mechani-Gripper, or the Freezy-Beam 4000? Why?
- George and Harold went back to save Mr. Krupp from where he was tied up underneath the waterfall. Do you think they made the right decision? Why or why not? What would you have done? Why?
- What do you think Crackers and Sulu are doing now that they are separated from their buddies, George and Harold? How do you think Crackers feels about having to leave her eggs behind? What do you think might happen to Crackers’s eggs?
- At the end of the story we meet Robo-Squid, with Melvin Sneedly inside! Where do you think he’s taking George, Harold, and Captain Underpants? Do you think this may be the end of Captain Underpants? Why or why not?
Discussion Questions for the other Captain Underpants Books
Captain Underpants is a clever, fearless superhero. Together with George and Harold, he seems to be able to outwit even the most evil villains.
- How does Captain Underpants use his superpowers for good?
- George and Harold do not have superpowers, so how do they help save the day?
- How would you describe Mr. Krupp? Is he a fair principal? Why or why not? What would make Mr. Krupp a better principal?
- Who are the superheroes in your life? Why are they your superheroes? Which character traits do they possess?
- Which character do you believe you are most like in the Captain Underpants books? What is it that makes you most like that character?
Discussion Questions for The Adventures of Ook and Gluk
Ook and Gluk discover that the future is not so bright in 2222 AD. Their new friend Master Wong helps them see how to save the day.
- Master Wong encourages Ook and Gluk to walk the path of peace. How do you walk the path of peace? How can you help others walk the path of peace?
- Do you think it is a good idea to be able to travel back and forth in time?
- What kinds of problems did time travel cause for Chief Goppernopper and J. P. Goppernopper?
- If you had a time machine, where would you have it take you?
- What kinds of problems do you think you might encounter traveling through time?
- Master Wong asks Ook and Gluk who they believe to be the greatest man. They answer that no one is the greatest man. Why do you think they gave that answer?
Discussion Questions for Super Diaper Baby
- Super Diaper Baby came by his superpowers accidentally. If you could have one superpower, what would it be? Why would you like to have that particular power? How would you use it?
- Do you think it was fair for Mr. Krupp to tell Harold and George that they could no longer write books about Captain Underpants? Why or why not? Explain your answer.
- Deputy Dangerous had a plan that did not quite work out the way he expected. Tell about a time when something you had planned didn’t work out the way you expected. What kinds of problems were caused? How were they solved?
- Danger Dog took the plunge and saved Super Diaper Baby from the evil Robo-Ant 2000. What do you think caused him to save Super Diaper Baby?
Discussion Questions for Super Diaper Baby 2: The Invasion of the Potty Snatchers
- Super Diaper Baby and Diaper Dog help their friends with all kinds of things, from finding a doll to getting a ball off a roof. What kinds of things do you do to help others in your community?
- Do you think robots are important in our world? Why or why not? If you could invent a robot to make your life easier, what would you have it do?
- Super Diaper Baby’s dad is his hero. Who are your heroes? Do you think a hero has to be someone who is famous? Explain your answer.
- Super Diaper Baby and Diaper Dog are good buddies. If you could have any kind of pet, which would you choose? Why would you like to have this kind of pet? What would you and your pet do together?
Discussion guide written by Kathy Casey, Third Grade Teacher, H.B. Milnes School, Fairlawn, NJ, Teacher of the Year.