In the wake of a half-dozen Dr. Seuss books coming under fire and being pulled by Dr. Seuss Enterprises from further publication due to purported racist descriptions and images, Scholastic will no longer publish – and has even asked libraries to return – The Adventures of Ook and Gluk: Kung-Fu Cavemen from the Future. Written by Dav Pilkey and originally released in 2010, the graphic novel was a spinoff of Pilkey’s bestselling Captain Underpants book series. The Captain Underpants phenomenon reached peak popularity in 2017 with the release of Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie, an animated family film featuring the voices of Ed Helms, Kevin Hart and Thomas Middleditch.
“Together, we recognize that (The Adventures of Ook and Gluk: Kung-Fu Cavemen from the Future) perpetuates passive racism,” Scholastic said in a statement. “We are deeply sorry for this serious mistake. Scholastic has removed the book from our websites, stopped fulfillment of any orders (domestically or abroad), contacted our retail partners to explain why this book is no longer available, and sought a return of all inventory. We will take steps to inform schools and libraries who may still have this title in circulation of our decision to withdraw it from publication.”Pilkey provided additional details in a letter he posted on YouTube. He wrote that “The Adventures of Ook and Gluk: Kung-Fu Cavemen from the Future was intended to showcase the diversity, equality, and non-violent conflict resolution. But this week it was brought to my attention that this book also contains harmful racial stereotypes and passively racist imagery. I wanted to take this opportunity to publicly apologize for this. It was and is wrong and harmful to my Asian readers, friends, and family, and to all Asian people.” The author’s letter continued, with Pilkey apologizing to his readers and pledging “to do better” in the future.