Title: Captain Underpants and the Invasion of the Incredible Naughty Cafeteria Ladies from Outer Space (and the Subsequent Assault of the Equally Evil Lunchroom Zombie Nerds)
Author: Dav Pilkey
Illustrator: Dav Pilkey
Publisher, Year: Scholastic, 1999
Number of pages: 144
Genre: Science Fiction, Fiction
Descriptive Annotation: The main characters, George and Harold, are learning what happens when baking soda and vinegar are mixed together. Being the kids they are, they decide to play a joke on the cafeteria ladies that involves giving them a cupcake recipe that has baking soda and vinegar. They also included a note telling them to bake these cupcakes, named “Mr. Krupp’s Krispy Krupcakes” for Mr. Krupp’s birthday. The cafeteria women decide to make a batch for the whole school but end up covered the school in green goop. They immediately blame the incident on George and Harold but Mr. Krupp says he needs proof in order to do anything. Since this was not the first encounter the lunch ladies had with the boys, they end up quitting. Three aliens come disguised as humans and apply for the cafeteria women’s jobs. Meanwhile, Mr. Krupp has punished the boys by forcing them to eat lunch in his office every day. The next day the new lunch ladies give everyone “Zombie Nerd Milkshakes” that turn all of the students into zombie nerds. George and Harold sneak out of the office, see what has happened, and hear the aliens planning to feed them all “growth juice” to make them into minions. The boys steal the juice and pour it on a dandelion, and prove to Mr. Krupp that the lunch women are aliens. One of the aliens snaps his finger at them, turning Mr. Krupp into Captain Underpants and makes him to run to a shoe store and order a cheeseburger . The boys get rid of the aliens and Captain Underpants comes back. George gives some of the “Extra-Strength Super Power Juice” to Captain Underpants and kills the previously mutated dandelion. The only thing left to do is change the students back from zombie nerds by mixing the Anti-Evil Zombie Nerd Juice with root beer and turn Captain Underpants into Mr. Krupp. Because of the Super Power Juice, Mr. Krupp (when Captain Underpants) permanently has super powers.
Linguistic and Cultural Diversity Analysis: Diversity does not have to be comparing people from across Earth; it can also be between living organisms simply from different places – such as aliens and humans. If students have trouble with talking about differences, it may be possible to read this story, talk about how aliens and humans are different, and how we have differing opinions on what’s best for Earth from aliens. Linguistically, the aliens try their best to act like humans so students could discuss how language changes from place to place and how difficult it can be to learn.
Interdisciplinary Connections: The book starts out in a science classroom, so I could see reading chapter three to give a comical introduction to chemical reactions. It also talks about different “juices” which could be turned into a lesson regarding how chemicals can be mixed together to get different results. An art lesson could be to draw both a regular-sized object and then make it either much larger or smaller, depending on the potion that it received and talk about perspective.
Other Information: Captain Underpants and the Invasion of the Incredible Naughty Cafeteria Ladies from Outer Space (and the Subsequent Assault of the Equally Evil Lunchroom Zombie Nerds) is the third book in the Captain Underpants series. It’s good for students who enjoy series, especially science fiction. A fun fact for students is that this title contains 25 words, which is mentioned in a later book in the series. I enjoyed reading this for fun, and it would be a good way to get students, especially boys, interested in reading because Dav Pilkey does a good job of continuing the Captain Underpants story through the different books. It would also be a good book to read aloud to students to calm them down at some point through the day.