Now seriously, kids: The man behind Captain Underpants to visit Eagle Harbor Books

“I was a kid who didn’t like to read and I wanted to write books for kids similar to me,” said children’s author and illustrator Dav Pilkey.

Children’s author Dav Pilkey will visit Eagle Harbor Book Club in downtown Winslow at 3 p.m. Sunday

“Tra-la-laaa!”

It’s a battle cry familiar to the legions of Captain Underpants fans out there.

But it’s also just the briefest introduction to the hilarious and action-packed work of children’s author and illustrator Dav Pilkey, the man USA Today has dubbed “the best-selling bad boy of children’s literature.”

When budding artists and uninspired students George and Harold get in trouble in class, their mean-tempered principal Mr. Krupp devises a plan to stop their antics and take away their beloved comic books. Rest assured, the plan goes awry, but in a most unexpected twist it leads to the creation of the greatest superhero to ever not wear pants: Captain Underpants.

The series, now on its tenth installment, perfectly combines Pilkey’s punchy prose and unique artistic style in what has become his best known work. He has, however, written and illustrated numerous popular, award-winning books for children including the noted “Dumb Bunnies” series, “Dog Breath,” winner of the California Young Reader Medal; and “The Paperboy,” a Caldecott Honor Book.

A part-time Bainbridge Island resident, Pilkey will be stopping by Eagle Harbor Book Company in downtown Winslow at 3 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 8 as part of a free back-to-school event to sign autographs and answer questions.

“I was on vacation in Seattle and took the ferry to Bainbridge Island,” Pilkey recalled. “I was mesmerized by the beauty of the island and decided to make a home here.”

The author also lives part-time in Japan and Ohio.

For Pilkey, coming back to Bainbridge and events like the one at Eagle Harbor Books give him a chance to meet and interact with readers of all ages, an aspect of his job that he always looks forward to.

“I was a kid who didn’t like to read and I wanted to write books for kids similar to me,” Pilkey said. “My favorite part of events like these is meeting kids who at first did not like to read, started with my books and are now advanced readers.”

The creator of characters with strange monikers including Professor Pippy P. Poopypants, the Wicked Wedgie Woman and the Bionic Booger Boy as well as Ook and Gluk, the two kung-fu cavemen from the future, Pilkey got his own start as a storyteller in much the same way his heroes in the Captain Underpants story get theirs: He was bored in school.

“He’s the kind of kid who got into trouble in school because he was just so visually oriented,” said Victoria Irwin, the Winslow bookstore’s events coordinator. “He’s a really awesome guy.”

In his comic-book form autobiography, available on his website, Pilkey says it was not until his freshman year of college that his jokes and doodling met with anything other than disapproval from a teacher.

There, in a freshman English class, his professor saw his notebook full of jokes and drawings, loved them, and told him he should write children’s books.

For Pilkey, who had previously been told by almost every teacher he’d ever had that he could not spend his life “making silly books,” the idea that he could actually do what he loved and be successful at it became the motivation to write his first book and get it published.

The rest, as they say, is history.

Pilkey encourages kids interested in growing up to authors.

“Delve into your imagination and write as much as possible.”

Although it is free and open to the public, the event is ticketed with limited seating available so it is highly recommended that interested readers reserve a spot. Priority seating will be given to customers who buy one of Pilkey’s books at Eagle Harbor Books or Liberty Bay Books and reserve a ticket.

For information on how to reserve tickets, visit the Eagle Harbor website (eagleharborbooks.com), email the event coordinator (staff@eagleharborbooks.com) or call 206-842-5332 for the most current availability.

For more about Pilkey and his works, visit www.pilkey.com.

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