How do you get boys to read? Books that are gory or gross are luring boys away from their video games, reports the Wall Street Journal.
The book’s main character slaughtered his victims by running them through with sharp stakes. He once left hundreds dying slowly on a hillside while the soil grew “muddy with blood” and “blackbirds flocked around the corpses, fighting for a meal.”
Although it has the contours of a horror story — with splotches of red ink on its pages depicting blood — it’s actually a children’s book. Vlad the Impaler: The Real Count Dracula is widely available in libraries and is making its way into middle-school social-studies classes.
Publishers are aiming more books at boys, who are said to prefer non-fiction. New science books stress the yuck factor.
In a series called “Sanitation Investigation,” Capstone Press in the fall is bringing out Getting to Know Your Toilet: The Disgusting Story Behind Your Home’s Strangest Feature. Other popular selections in the grossness genre include Workman Publishing’s Oh, Yuck: The Encyclopedia of Everything Nasty and Simon & Schuster’s It’s Disgusting and We Ate It! True Food Facts from Around the World and Throughout History. (Think worms, rats and squirrels.)
Kevin Bolger, an elementary-school teacher in Ottawa, offers “Captain Underpants” to his third-grade classes, calling the response “awesome.” “It’s like reading-candy,” Mr. Bolger says.
The experience inspired Mr. Bolger to write his own children’s book, Sir Fartsalot Hunts the Booger.
Why not Captain Blood instead of Captain Underpants?