The Adventures of Captain Underpants

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The Adventures of
Captain Underpants
Fourth edition cover
Author Dav Pilkey
Illustrator Dav Pilkey
Country United States
Language English
Series Captain Underpants series
Genre Children's novel, Humor
Publisher Blue Sky (US),
Scholastic (US)
Publication date
September 1, 1997 (Black and White)
August 27, 2013 (Color)
Media type Print (Paperback, Hardcover)
Pages 125
ISBN 978-0-590-84628-8
Followed by Captain Underpants and the Attack of the Talking Toilets

The Adventures of Captain Underpants is an American children's novel by Dav Pilkey, the first novel in the Captain Underpants series. It was published on September 1, 1997, and became a hit with children ages 6–8 (mainly boys) across America.

Plot summary[edit]

Fourth graders George Beard and Harold Hutchins are best friends and the troublemakers of Jerome Horwitz Elementary School. Aside from pulling numerous pranks, the two sell comic books on the playground featuring superheroes they created, the newest being "The Amazing Captain Underpants".

One day, they pull their latest prank, a series of practical jokes at the school's football game: they sprinkle black pepper into the cheerleaders' pom-poms, causing them to have a short sneezing fit, pour liquid bubble bath in the marching band's instruments causing them to blow bubbles, fill the game ball with helium causing it to float away when kicked, and replace the players' muscle-rub ointment with itching cream causing the whole team to have a massive itching fit, among other things, causing the school to forfeit the game.

The next day, their mean-spirited, child-hating principal, Mr. Krupp, who especially loathes them and their pranks, calls them into his office and reveals that he installed tiny surveillance cameras all over the school and now has a videotape containing footage of them preparing their pranks. Now that he finally has proof to use against them after being forced to endure their antics (including them putting dissected frogs in the jello salad during the parent-teacher banquet, making it snow inside the cafeteria and rigging all the intercoms causing them to blare "Weird Al" Yankovic songs full blast for six hours straight) for countless years, Mr. Krupp blackmails George and Harold: unless they obey him, he will give the tape to the football team.

George and Harold are forced to wake up at 6:00 A.M. everyday to wash Mr. Krupp's car, clean his office during lunch, pull no pranks during school, not smile at all during school time, do yard work after school, and receive extra homework. In order to escape this, George orders a "3-D Hypno-Ring", a hypnosis device from the Li'l Wiseguy Company, which they receive after 4–6 weeks of grueling labor. Purposefully arriving late to school the next day, the boys use the ring to hypnotize Mr. Krupp and take the video, which Harold replaces with one of his little sister's "Boomer the Purple Dragon" (a parody of "Barney the Purple Dinosaur") sing-along videos.

Now free from Mr. Krupp's threat, the two begin goofing off, taking back some of the things that Mr. Krupp had taken from them over the years and using the ring to make Mr. Krupp act like a chicken, and then a monkey. George finally hypnotizes Mr. Krupp to turn into Captain Underpants. George and Harold burst out laughing when they see that Mr. Krupp, in his underwear and a red cape with black polka-dots (a curtain), actually looks a lot like the Captain Underpants in their comic books. However, the prank backfires when Mr. Krupp jumps out the window to fight crime. Knowing that they would be responsible if something happened to Mr. Krupp, the boys grab some supplies (as well as Mr. Krupp's clothes) before chasing after their principal.

"Captain Underpants" eventually confronts two bank robbers, and orders them to "Surrender! Or I will have to resort to 'Wedgie Power!" The bank robbers fall down in hysterics and are apprehended by the police. The police begin to arrest Captain Underpants too, but fortunately, he is whisked to safety on the boys' skateboards. Before the boys are able to change their principal back to normal, the trio witnesses two robots stealing a large crystal. Captain Underpants tries to stop them, but his cape gets caught on their van, and he (along with George and Harold clinging to him by the heels), is dragged to an old, abandoned warehouse. There, the trio meet the evil Dr. Diaper (a mad scientist who wears a diaper), who plans to use the crystal as the transformer for his Laser-Matic 2000 to blow up the Moon, destroying every major city on Earth, so that he can take over the planet. George and Harold escape and hide, but Captain Underpants is captured and tied up.

George uses a slingshot to toss a fake doggy doo-doo between Dr. Diaper's feet. Dr. Diaper is terribly embarrassed, thinking that he has had an "accident". While he departs to change his diaper, George and Harold destroy the robots and free Captain Underpants. Harold pulls the self-destruct lever on the Laser-Matic 2000, mistaking it for an "off" switch.

Dr. Diaper returns from his diaper change, enraged at the destruction of the Laser-Matic 2000, his robots, and the foiling of his plans, aims his Diaper-Matic 2000 ray gun (which resembles a pacifier) at George, Harold, and Captain Underpants. Captain Underpants shoots a pair of underwear (it is later revealed it was his own underwear, as he is shown wearing a barrel soon after) at Dr. Diaper. The underwear covers Dr. Diaper's face, which renders him incapable of defending himself. The four manage to escape the warehouse before it explodes, and Dr. Diaper is tied (with the same rope used to tie Captain Underpants up earlier) to a lamppost outside the police station with a note reading "Arrest Me!" taped to him.

George, Harold, and Captain Underpants return to Mr. Krupp's office and dress Captain Underpants back up as Mr. Krupp. The boys try to figure out how to return Mr. Krupp to his normal self, but they've lost the instruction manual for the 3-D Hypno-Ring. In desperation, George dumps water from a vase on Mr. Krupp's head. It works, and Mr. Krupp returns to his angry self, resolving to give the video to the football team. After Mr. Krupp leaves the office, George finds the 3-D Hypno-Ring's manual, but throws it away, no longer believing they need it: unknown to them, the manual warns that pouring water over a person in a trance will cause them to switch between reality and trance whenever they hear someone snap their fingers.

As it turns out, the football team enjoys the Sing-A-Long video so much that they try to change their name from the Horwitz Knuckleheads to the Purple Dragon Sing-A-Long Friends (which didn't go so well with the fans). George and Harold return to their mischievous ways, but from this point on, whenever Mr. Krupp hears somebody snap their fingers, he transforms back into Captain Underpants.

Comic: The Adventures of Captain Underpants[edit]

The comic in the book starts with bad guys taking over the world, while the superheroes (including Superman, Captain America, Wonder Woman and Batman) are too old to fight them. Captain Underpants suddenly appears, and the introduction comes in.

Meanwhile, at a nearby school, the cafeteria gives the children the "Stinky Taco Surprise", so the children throw it away. The wasted food comes to life as the Inedible Hunk (a parody of The Incredible Hulk), which causes chaos in the school. Captain Underpants rapidly shoots underwear at the monster, but it doesn't work, as the Hunk eats them. So Captain Underpants runs, and the Inedible Hunk chases him until it gets too tired to chase Captain Underpants. The Captain heads to the bathroom and suggests that the monster takes a drink to quench its thirst. While the Inedible Hunk drinks from the toilet, Captain Underpants flushes the monster down the drain.



  • George R. Beard: one of the main protagonists and a 4th grader at Jerome Horwitz Elementary School. Harold's best friend.
  • Harold M. Hutchins: one of the main protagonists and a 4th grader at Jerome Horwitz Elementary School. George's best friend.
  • Mr. Krupp: Jerome Horwitz Elementary School's cruel principal who hates George and Harold.
  • The Amazing Captain Underpants: A super hero from George and Harold's comics, George and Harold accidentally hypnotize Mr. Krupp into thinking he's Captain Underpants.
  • Dr. Diaper-The short and somewhat babyish main antagonist who attempts to take over the world by destroying the moon.


  • The Horwitz Knuckleheads: the school's football team. After watching the "Boomer the Purple Dragon Singalong Video" that Harold replaced the prank footage with, they change their name to the Purple Dragon Sing-A-Long Friends.
  • Robots-The secondary antagonists and Dr. Diaper's henchmen.
  • The Inedible Hunk (from the comics): The antagonist of the Captain Underpants comic. A monster formed from the cafeteria food.
  • Cheerleaders: The school cheerleaders. George and Harold put black pepper in their pom-poms, which causes them to have a sneezing fit at the school's football game.
  • The Band: The school's marching band. George and Harold fill up their instruments with bubble bath in one of their pranks.
  • Mr. Meaner: The school gym teacher. (referred to in the book as "the coach")
  • Ms. Ribble: George and Harold's fourth grade teacher. (referred to in the book as "the teacher")
  • Bank Robbers: Two bank robbers whom Captain Underpants tries to apprehend.


  • Heidi Hutchins Kaur- Harold's youngest sister. Harold replaces Mr. Krupp's footage with one of her "Boomer the Purple Dragon Singalong Videos".

Name change[edit]

The first printings of the book have "An Epic Novel by Dav Pilkey" instead of "The First Epic Novel by Dav Pilkey"

See also[edit]

External links[edit]