Latest installment of popular children’s book series causing stir among parents

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ROCKFORD, Mich. – The newest installment of a popular children’s book series is raising nationwide concerns among parents and educators.

Just last week, Arborwood Elementary School in Monroe, Michigan, pulled the new Captain Underpants book from its Scholastic book fair shelves. The installment, entitled "Captain Underpants and the Sensational Saga of Sir Stinks-a-lot," reveals that Harold, a main character throughout the series, grows up to marry his partner Billy.

The theme has led to uproar in school districts across the country, but Rockford Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Michael Shibler is getting out ahead of the controversy. He and his staff sent out a letter to parents of elementary school students, alerting them to the book’s themes but stopping short of discouraging parents from purchasing it for their children.

“My only goal right now is to be completely transparent with parents,” said Dr. Shibler, “and if in fact they want to purchase this book at a book fair, then they in fact can do so, but they’re going to be informed to this potential controversy.”

The Captain Underpants series includes 14 books and three spin-offs, has sold over 70 million copies worldwide and has been translated into over 20 languages. Even DreamWorks got in on the action and bought the rights for a film adaptation to be made at a later date.

Scholastic, the publisher of the series, lists the book as suitable for kids in grades 2 to 5.

Dr. Shibler isn’t putting politics into his decision but feels the best route to take is to allow parents the option to buy or not buy – simple as that.

“I do know there are some people that would find that inappropriate for their children to read, so let the parent make that decision,” he said. “I’m not trying to pass judgment on anything. I’m just saying, I’m going to inform you as a parent so you make the decision whether you want to buy this book at the book fair for your child.”

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  • Commonsense

    This is disgusting that some piece of sh!t writer has to push his disgusting immoral lifestyle through childrens books. We will never buy anything from this scumbag.

    • CameronMWagoner

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    They ( liberals) have also corrupted Sesame street, Captain America and the Green Hornet.
    Wonder Women has been deemed “sexist”.
    The more you dig the more you’ll find.

  • Fun facts

    I’m surprised that some inner city basketball teams aren’t refusing to play since capt stinky underpants isn’t black.

    The left has gotten ridicules and whoever wrote these books should be investigated for child pornagrphy

  • Shiloh's Mom

    I have always hated these books because they are so crude. Seriously??? A book about underpants?? Now there is a new one about Captain Stinks a Lot??? Are you kidding me? How gross and uncouth and totally devoid of class these books are. They have no business being in a school library for that reason alone, but now that the author has added homosexuality to these books aimed at kids in grades 2-5 is just so incredibly wrong on so many levels. What was absolutely UNHEARD of just a few years ago is now being touted as OK. Just blows my freakin’ mind.

    • Duchess

      I truly feel very, very sorry for Shiloh. If you are her example… Read the article again – these books are meant to entertain while encouraging children to read. You expect every kid to want to read some high-brow book, simply because it’s high-brow? Any book a child reads is a good thing – these books are for kids who are like 8 to 10, not middle school age! If a child reads a book – ANY book, you as a parent can have an open discussion about what they’ve read, let them make a choice as to how they feel about what they read, and, more importantly, if they understand the story’s message. Then, they will be able to see that everything isn’t always the way mom and dad see it. Then they will not grow up to be illiterate narrow-minded people, but informed, open minded people, willing to ask questions and try to understand things that are different than what they experience at home.

      • Shiloh's Mom

        Well first of all, Shiloh is my DOG, but thanks for worrying about how I’m raising him. LOL. Seriously, you truly believe it’s OK to let a child read ANYTHING just because reading is a GOOD thing, including bathroom humor and exploring alternative sexualities? Have our standards been lowered that far? We can’t do a whole heck of a lot better than that? I grew up with Dick and Jane and lots of other books and learned to love to read without having to resort to crudeness and adult subjects. It is NOT necessary and is an example of not only dumbing down education but allowing our children to wallow at and stoop to the basest, crudest, foulest, coarse, uncouth, trashy, inappropriate and offensive levels just to get their interest and “entertain” them. That is called BAD PARENTING, not narrow-mindedness, and I refused to stoop to that level with my children when they were growing up. Is nothing sacred or private or innocent or decent anymore? How about expecting excellence, class, proper behavior and higher standards instead? When did that become a BAD thing?

  • Greta Skogseth

    I am a Children’s Lit teacher. Let’s discuss a few things. 1) Don’t be afraid of a book. Instead, we need to be afraid of illiteracy. 2) People are allowed to be in relationships. Authors can even write about it. Just because you read about something, you don’t have to support it. It’s just a story. 3) Children enjoy books that make them laugh. Even if the content is questionable to a parent, I suggest that you read the book at hand and then help your child make a better choice. Have dialogue with your child. However, just because you don’t like it, why call the author hurtful things? What sort of message does that show to your children?

    • Duchess

      Thank God – finally a voice of reason!! What this superintendent did, IMO, was the correct way to handle this. He let the parents know what the book’s story was about, and let the parents make the decision whether or not to purchase the book. This way, the decision is in the hands of the parents, not the school board, not some religious zealot leaders, but the people who are raising their children. It may come as a surprise to a lot of people, but not everyone feels it’s acceptable to condemn something they don’t/refuse to understand. Also, as you pointed out, it’s not setting a decent example for children calling someone else names, just because you don’t agree with something they have written. You’re all for “Stop the bullying” except when it comes to this particular subject, then it’s perfectly fine to call names and condemn someone you don’t even know….

  • Avid Book Reader

    I think that the superintendent should also examine all of the books that make the ALA Frequently Challenged Book List for each year and decade. If this book it inappropriate, it would be fair to question all of the books in the library or the sale. However, it appears that there is a problem with the subject matter. Please read: “That was my first time seeing book censorship in action, but reading I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings wasn’t my first time I had read a banned book. As it turned out, I had been reading banned and challenged books for a long time without even knowing it. Early in my school career I had read books like Junie B. Jones and a Little Monkey Business, Bridge to Terabithia, Charlotte’s Web, and, of course, Harry Potter. All of them, I’ve learned, are banned or challenged somewhere in the United States.
    More well loved books that join them on the list of 11,300 books that the American Library Association reports have been challenged in the last 32 years include:

    The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
    Looking for Alaska by John Green
    Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
    The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
    The Giver by Lois Lowry
    Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak”

  • Critically Thinking

    Before judging this book, I also would like to present some of its positives. Many reluctant readers have read this series and actually have grown to like books. Reading isn’t the same for everybody. For a lot of children, and my son included, it was a huge challenge. This series really attracts a reader who appreciates graphics and needs humor to remain interested. The author, if you’ve ever heard him speak, really tries to connect with children and young adults who have ADD or ADHD. If a person would like to read about another mom’s experience, I will include the link.

    There is a lot of fear about children reading about homosexuality. My children go to school with others who have sex sex parents. Therefore, the actual “stink” about his book is more about the introduction of a same sex couple. This series has been at book fairs for years, and even though some parents don’t like it “stinky” references, it speaks to a lot of child readers and their parents, who do indeed want the best for them.

    To flag this book as unacceptable, it comes down to fear of letting a child know that same sex relationship do exist and can be mentioned in literature. Why is there such fear? Maurice Sendak, author of Where the Wild Things Are, hid his sexuality until his senior years. Why? Because he was afraid of such a reaction — there are no homosexual references in this Caldecott winning book. But, he feared that people wouldn’t allow children to read a book written by a homosexual. He died and was recognized as one of the top children author/illustrators to date.

    I would hope that The Captain Underpants books can be enjoyed by those who continue to read them with enthusiasm despite the mention of a same sex couple. Are we afraid of books or the conversations that should be fostered after reading them?

  • Sick of whiny ass people

    I am getting sick of hearing about people throwing hissy fits over the dumbest crap. “The times they are a changin’.” and you need to change with it. Its a book for God’s sake and if you think a book is going to have some horrible negative effect on your child then you aren’t raising them right. The fact that people thought the book needed to be pulled off shelves just because it had one character in it people might pitch a fit about is what is disgusting about this whole thing. I have an idea, how about you let your kid read whatever they want. Maybe they will turn out to be better people than you small minded assholes.

  • Urstruly

    Seriously people… it’s a flipping book….what is wrong with you…. first of all its a kids book, it is meant to make kid’s giggle because we all know if a child is interested in something they will want to do it (reading) more, second what world are you haters living in…. have you not been paying attention to Wray us going on in the world around you, in most states is ok to marry the same sex, this to me is helping to teach children tolerance which believe me or world need now more than ever….. the more you try to stop them from reading it the more lonely they are to seek the book out elsewhere to read it….. smh…. it’s just a book raff ur with your kids, let them ask questions, be a PARENT n explain it to them…. stop trying to take the easy way out by keeping these things from them!!!!!

    • Fun facts

      Sorry, I don’t need gays pushing their agenda on my kids. Kids books are supposed to be fun and innocent . You want to discuss with your children about two males licking turd slides that’s your choice.

  • Reggie Funkpotato

    These conservative christians are always “outraged” about something petty and insignificant. From a paper coffee cup that doesn’t have a snowflake to a children’s book that nobody is forcing them to read. Sheesh. Stop whining

    • OnIt

      With all the supportive comments on this ‘fun’, brainwashing of young minds book, & now the Christian bashing, looks like some worker bees were directed to this location to make this look acceptable to John Q.

  • Grady

    Maybe I´m missing something…but the article states that he “marries his partner”. The guy in the video says “he and his partner move in together”. Wonder what the book actually says.