If you were a pre-teen boy in the late 90s, you might know you Dav Pilkey is, author of the Captain Underpants books geared mainly towards that gender and age group. Those were the only books I knew by Pilkey and in my mind I had categorized him at pandering to the gross-loving boy group. Then when my oldest was small, my husband's aunt gave her two books about Big Dog and Little Dog by Pilkey that were sweet and funny and nothing at all about boogers or tighty-whities or pranking 10-year-olds. "Huh," I said to myself and never thought about it again, until recently when my two-year-old became obsessed with Big Dog and Little Dog. "I wonder if Pilkey has anything else not involving captains of undergarments." Yes, yes he does.
First off, I sought out all the Big Dog and Little Dog books. There are five in all and each is as wonderful as the two we own. Big Dog and Little Dog get into some mischief, since they are dogs after all, but in general are tender and lovable. We got a compilation book from the library that might have to go into the permanent collections from how many times we have read it so far. It sits in my giant denim library bag and when I tell my little ones it's time to read stories, my youngest heads to the bag for her new favorite dog duo. The drawings, always done by Pilkey, are simple yet expressive, especially when the dogs mistake a skunk for a cat. Yowza. Two big thumbs up for this book, especially if you ask my two-year-old.
Another wonderful book by Pilkey is The Paperboy, written and illustrated by him in oil paints. It actually was a Caldecott Honor book the year it was published and I can see why. It's about the life of a paperboy, how he gets up when it's still dark and cold and delivers his papers while his dog runs alongside, knowing the route just as well as he does. It's a nice book, but I still like Big Dog and Little Dog better. Worth reading from the library.
As if Pilkey didn't want to get too warm and fuzzy, he also has his Dumb Bunnies series of books. If you ever read The Stupids by Harry Allard and James Marshall, you already know what kind of characters the Dumb Bunnies are. They do everything wrong and backwards and are ridiculous to the point of annoyance. I love The Stupids, but I hate the Dumb Bunnies. Why? Why is that I cannot stand this book but I'll laugh myself silly over The Stupids Die? I kept asking myself as my kids asked me to read that dreadful book over and over again. My conclusion is that the Dumb Bunnies are not funny. Not one bit. Children around the world will disagree, but this is my blog and that's what I think.
I checked out the first Captain Underpants book, but I never read it. My six-year-old read it and laughed herself silly. Apparently it's not just for 10-year-old boys. That concludes what I have to say about that book.
I've decided that Dav Pilkey is kind of like Adam Sandler. He can rein himself in and make The Wedding Singer or Spanglish, but he secretly wants to make Happy Gilmore and The Waterboy every single year until he dies. I don't know what Pilkey secretly wants to do, maybe the Big Dog and Little Dog books are his true loves and he does Captain Underpants and Dumb Bunnies to pay the mortgage. If that's the case, and I hope it is, I'm glad for all the people who buy the books I can't stand so he can make enough money to write books I can love.