Captain Underpants is an extremely popular series of illustrated, comic-book-style novels for children written by author Dave Pilkey.
The book follows the escapades of two fourth-grade students known as George and Harold, who one day find a way to hypnotize their principal Mr. Krupp into becoming a superhero known as Captain Underpants.
It was Dave Pilky’s first series before his immensely popular Dog Man books and is well known for its witty humor, action scenes, hilarious drawings, and fun nature.
The first entry into the series was published in 1997, and since then the series has grown to feature 12 main entries as well as spin-off novels.
So let’s say you’re reading Captain Underpants, but you want to know the ideal reading order.
Is there some way that you should read the books, to make sure that you don’t miss anything? If this sounds like you, then you’re in the right place!
I’m going to give you a definitive reading order for Captain Underpants as well as its spin-off books!
About Captain Underpants
Captain Underpants is the creation of American author and illustrator Dave Pilky.
After struggling with dyslexia as a child, Pilky found himself often drawing comic strips as a way to tell stories.
In his adult life, he became an author after publishing his first book “World War Won,” in 1986.
It wasn’t until the release of Captain Underpants in 1997, however, that he began to see mainstream, publishing success.
Captain Underpants is beloved for its snappy humor, fast pacing, and hilarious characters. Some of the main themes of the series revolve around the power of imagination.
Harold and George—the two central characters of the book—use the power of their imaginations to create what was once just a character into a reality.
The books remind children of the importance of imagination.
Another important part of the books is the theme of authority and the boundaries between child and adult relationships.
Harold and George are quite troubled kids, who often face off against their principal due to their behavior.
However, much of their bad behavior is rooted in humor, and the novels explore how this mischievous nature can be a positive thing when prevailing against difficult authority figures.
Captain Underpants is one of the most popular children’s book series in the world, and the success of Pilky’s next series—Dog Man—has only added to this acclaim.
Now let’s take a look at the reading order!
Captain Underpants Books In Order
This is the first novel in the series and the most important to read first, as it introduces the reader to George, Harold, and Mr. Krupp.
In The Adventures Of Captain Underpants, you’ll learn about how the boys hypnotize their principal and turn him into Captain Underpants.
It also serves as the first encounter with the villain Professor Poopypants.
- The perfect introduction to the story and characters.
- Not as good as some of the later entries in the series.
Next up, you should read Captain Underpants And The Attack Of The Talking Toilets to see the next part of the story.
This sees the expansion of the storyline and features a whimsical set of villains known as the talking toilets.
- A great section entry into the series that expands the characters.
- A lot of toilet humor in this one!
If you were hoping Captain Underpants would have a space-invasion story, then The Invasion Of The Incredibly Naughty Cafeteria Ladies From Outer Space is the next one for you to read.
This is the next part of the story that introduces important side characters like Bionic Booger Boy and Incredible Wedgie Woman.
- Introduces new characters that come up later in the series.
- Lots of new introductions take away from some of the simplicity of the first two entries.
With the fourth entry of the series, we see an old villain returning in the form of Professor Poopypants.
When Poopypants becomes George and Harold’s new science professor, a plot is hatched that forces Captain Underpants to come to the rescue.
This is one of the highlights of the series and the next book that you should read, as it progresses to the next part of the story.
- Sees Professor Poopypants back in action as the main villain.
- May not be your favorite if you didn’t like the character before.
Next up, we have Captain Underpants fighting off the Wicked Wedgie Woman in the fifth entry to the series. Expect robots and a lot of wedgies in this one!
- Feels episodic now we get to the fifth entry.
Captain Underpants And The Big, Bad, Battle Of The Bionic Booger Boy Part 1: Night Of The Nasty Nostril Nuggets
2003 saw Dave Pilky release a double bill. This is the first part of that story, featuring the villain Bionic Booger Boy.
Expect a lot of crazy action and a much longer story than the one before. You have to read this one before reading part two, or else it won’t make sense!
- Full color and the biggest story yet!
- Requires you to read part two to get the full story!
Captain Underpants And The Big, Bad Battle Of The Bionic Booger Boy, Part 2: The Revenge Of The Ridiculous Robo-Boogers
For the second part of this story, and the seventh overall title in the series, we have the conclusion to the most expansive story yet. Expect an explosive finish to the most exciting Captain Underpants story yet.
Make sure you read this one after part one—you might want to buy both books together.
- Conclusion to the largest story yet.
- Does not work as a standalone story.
After the big double feature, you may be wondering where to go next. Well next up, we see Captain Underpants facing off against the Purple Potty People.
This story sees Harold and George going up against evil-twin versions of themselves, which is a great twist to the series!
- Features evil-twin versions of Harold and George.
- Isn’t as explosive as the last two entries of the series.
This story begins with George and Harold being framed for a crime they did not commit. This is a similar theme to a later novel in the Dog Man series.
If you’re looking for a story that will look at justice and time travel, then this is the most important next part of the series that has some of the most important lessons of the series to teach!
- Considers how George and Harold can defeat bullies without the help of Captain Underpants.
- Has much fewer Captain Underpants in the story than in other books.
The Revolting Revenge Of The Radioactive Robo-Boxers takes Harold and George to a post-apocalyptic planet.
This is the first novel that really takes the series away from its original school setting, so it’s a great choice to read if you’re looking for something a little different.
It follows on from entry nine, so make sure you’ve read that one first!
- Takes place in a completely different setting!
- Doesn’t work so well as a standalone entry.
2014 saw Dave Pilky release the eleventh entry into the Captain Underpants saga. This book sees a mega-talking toilet coming back for revenge.
This book goes back to the basics of Captain Underpants facing off against a familiar foe!
- A classic Captain Underpants tale.
- Not the most interesting of all the books.
This was the last entry in the series, as Dave Pilky shifted his focus to work on the Dog Man series.
You can see a distinct change in the art style with this one, but it’s a great story that contends with the idea of obedience and creativity.
This is the final book in the series and a great finale for the characters.
- Some deep themes about creativity and individuality.
- Different art style from the older books.
In short, you can easily read the Captain Underpants novels in publication order.
If you do this, you’ll get a good understanding of the series and the characters, as well as the underlying themes that build with each book.
However, I hope that I have illustrated how almost all of the novels can be read as standalone, and you won’t be too out of the loop!
I’d only recommend reading Captain Underpants 6 and 7 together, and 9 and 10. I’d also recommend reading the final entry last of all, as it wraps up the series.
I hope that this guide has given you a good idea of the reading order of this series, and you’re not all set to get started delving into the whimsical world of Captain Underpants. Happy reading!
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Dog Man Set In The Same World As Captain Underpants?
Dog Man is an older comic strip character created by George and Harold, so you should read that series to learn more about the characters!
Will There Be More Captain Underpants Books?
As it stands, Captain Underpants has concluded as a series, but you never know if there will be more in the future!
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