BooksForKidsBlog

Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Case of the Disappeared Drawers: Charlie's Superhero Underpants by Paul Bright

ON A WILD AND WINDY DAY,
ROUND ABOUT THE END OF MAY,
A GREAT AND GUSTING GALE BLEW THE LAUNDRY CLEAN AWAY.

SOCKS AND SHIRTS, A WOOLLY HAT,
BUT FAR WORSE THAN ALL THAT
WAS YOUNG CHARLIE'S SUPERHERO UNDERPANTS.

Now, mind you, these are no prosaic underpants: Charlie has already proved their powers in many a daring deed of doughty duty. They are no tiresome whitie tighties either. They're yellow, with red trim and the word POW! on the front and KERZAP! OOF! and SPLAT! emblazoned on their backside.

What's a superhero to do without his nifty knickers?

Without his superhero underpants, Charlie's powers are impoverished, and when a preliminary search (by "boats and planes and satellites") fails, Charlie holds the requisite press conference and announces that he's off on a globetrotting geography tour to return his drawers to their proper derriere. First, it's over the English Channel by balloon, where he finds "a fine French fox" in possession of sister Sophie's socks. Other articles of family-wear are found on the Serengeti, the plateau of Peru, ("llamas in brother Ben's pajamas"), and the muddy Mississippi where a 'gator sports Gramps' woolly cap.

Finally the long trek takes him to Nepal, where he spots a giant shaggy Yeti with his nether parts jammed into Charlie's diminutive drawers, pictured humorously in Lee Wildish's breezy cartoon style in a vertical double-page spread. A trade is quickly made with the woolly hat for the special skivvies :

CHARLIE THANKED THE YETI, AND HE PULLED HIS PANTS UP TIGHT.

THEY HAD POW! ON THE FRONT SO HE HAD PUT THEM ON JUST RIGHT.

HE RAISED ONE ARM UP HIGH AND HE FLEW INTO THE SKY!


Paul Bright's newest, Charlie's Superhero Underpants (Good Books, 2010), offers zippy verse with a catchy internal rhyme scheme, and coupled with Wildish's clever cartooning, provides plenty of giggle fare for the picture book set, who are known to dote on earlier entries in the growing shelf of posterior lit. (For those who do dote on duff stuff, there is a roundup of recent rearward renderings listed in my May 22 review of Chicken Butt! here.)

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