Anyone who can make my kid laugh is tops in my book. That’s why I’m a big fan of Dav Pilkey, author of the Captain Underpants series. Pilkey’s books follow the misadventures of elementary school anti-heroes Harold and George, two young boys with big imaginations and a penchant for wreaking havoc. When their best laid plans lead to hilarious chaos, it’s Captain Underpants (the alter ego of tyrannical school principal, Mr. Krupp) who restores order and saves the day!
Captain Underpants: The Sensational Saga of Sir Stinks-A-Lot is the latest book in Pilkey’s series. My kid couldn’t wait to get his hands on this one, as he was eager to find out what new, apparently putrid adventures are in store for his favourite characters. I was also excited for this latest release...and not just because I was looking forward to a fresh round of little boy giggles.
A minor plot point in The Sensational Saga of Sir Stinks-A-Lot gives us a peek into Harold and George’s future lives. Both boys grow up, get married and have children. George’s partner is a woman and Harold’s is man. Pilkey reveals Harold’s future relationship without any social or political commentary. That some boys grow into men who love other men is unremarkable in Pilkey’s wild, whimsical universe. Sir Stinks-A-Lot and his armpits of doom? That’s the real story here!
A small but significant number of Ontario students were kept home from school this month because their families object to Ontario’s sex education updates. One of the most frequent concerns I’ve heard are objections to teachers discussing sexual orientation and gender identity with elementary school students. There’s a misconception that children are too young and identities can only be understood in terms of who has sex with who or what a person’s genitals look like.
But teaching kids about gender and sexual diversity can be as simple as a beat in a story. One boy grows up and marries a woman, the other a man. Hey, kids! Gay people exist! They’re part of our world, our communities, and our families. And now, back to hamster-bats! My son can read this book and see that yes, there are a variety of people and relationships in this world and that’s very normal - especially compared to giant evil toilet robots and a principal who flies around in tighty whities!
I’ve no doubt Dav Pilkey’s latest offering will illicit lots of laughter from my son. I know it made me smile. Despite its title, The Sensational Saga of Sir Stinks-A-Lot has the very sweet smell of progress!