Pilkey, Dav. Captain Underpants and the Sensational Saga of Sir Stinks-a-Lot.
August 25th 2015 by Scholastic Inc.
E ARC from Edelweiss Above the Treeline
George and Harold are living happily with their twins (that were created as a result of time traveling), but the teachers who were sent to the rest home after their school-wide break down get zapped with Zygo-Gogizzle 24, and this makes Mr. Meaner, the gym teacher, a diabolical genius. He comes up with a formula (Rid-o-Kid 2000TM) that, when inhaled, induces Attention Superfluous Lethargy Syndrome in students, so they are all quiet and do exactly what they are told. Since Original Formula George and Harold are home with colds, Yesterday George and Harold inhale the brown cloud of mood altering substance and become quiet and attentive. Knowing that their colds, which kept them from being affected, won't last forever, George and Harold seek out the only adults they feel they can trust-- themselves in 20 odd years! They take the time machine and find themselves, living next door to each other and both creating comic books! They take themselves back with them, where they engage the now humongous Sir Stinks-a-Lot in an epic battle, where Captain Underpant's Super Power Juice is removed from his system, rendering him temporarily powerless. Luckily, Tony, Orlando and Dawn, the hamsterdactyls save the day, and everyone can return to their regularly scheduled lives... except for Original Formula George and Harold, who are off on another adventure!
There are, as always, multiple layers of jokes in this book. Mr. Pilkey is almost exactly my age, so I appreciated all of the chapter headings that were 1970s songs (The Night the Lights Went Out in Piqua, Da Ya Think I'm Stinky, Laughter Moon Delight). Younger readers will have to content themselves with the less sophisticated humor, like the teachers in their underwear, the signs in school that George and Harold change to thinks like "Teacher Farts Stain Underwear", or the inventive sound effects.
The villain, Sir Stinks-a-Lot (aka Mr. Meaner) was especially fun. The Rid-o-Kid 200 is comprised of "butyric acid, tryptophan, and Clamato juice", and is certainly a huge threat to George and Harold's lives. It was also a good plot device to encourage them to find their older selves.
Aside from the possible political statements about drugging children (Pilkey himself struggled with ADHD and dyslexia in school, earning him a lot of trips to sit in the hallway), there is a warning to that some Grouchy Old People "who have way too much time on their hands" (pg. 18) have taken offense at the language in the previous books, so THIS book will include "references to gardening, Bob Evans Restaurants, hard candies, FOX News, and gentle-yet-effective laxatives".
For that sentence alone, I need to replace all of my falling-apart Captain Underpants books with nice news copies, so Mr. Pilkey can get him $1.37 in royalties.
There will probably be more complaints, although I do not understand challenging these books, even after reading this breakdown in Business Insider. But I'm sure that there will be an outcry from some quarters about Old Harold and his husband and twins.
Even more reason to upgrade to a nice new set.