Author Dav Pilkey, best known for his children’s book series “Captain Underpants,” and Scholastic publishing have pulled his 2010 graphic novel “The Adventures of Ook and Gluk: Kung-Fu Cavemen from the Future” off the shelves over what they dubbed “passive racism.”
The book, a spinoff of the “Captain Underpants” series, follows two caveboys named Ook and Gluk who learn kung fu from a martial arts instructor, Master Wong.
“‘The Adventures of Ook and Gluk: Kung-Fu Cavemen from the Future’ was intended to showcase diversity, equality, and nonviolent conflict resolution,” Pilkey said in a statement on YouTube.
“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.”
Pilkey said he and Scholastic are pulling all copies of the book from their website, stopping fulfillment of new orders and working with retail stores and schools to take the book off the shelves.
“Together, we recognize that this book perpetuates passive racism,” Scholastic said in a statement. “We are deeply sorry for this serious mistake.”
Pilkey also announced that he would be donating the advance and royalties from the sales of ‘The Adventures of Ook and Gluk’ to charities, including We Need Diverse Books, the AAPI and TheaterWorks USA.
“Throughout our 100 year history, we have learned that trust must be won every day by total vigilance,” Scholastic said. “It is our duty and privilege to publish books with powerful and positive representations of our diverse society, and we will continue to strengthen our review processes as we seek to support all young readers.”
The move follows similar measures by Dr. Seuss Enterprises to stop production of six Seuss books that “portray people in ways that are hurtful and wrong,” the company said in a statement earlier this month.
“And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street,” “If I Ran the Zoo,” “McElligot’s Pool,” “The Cat’s Quizzer,” “Scrambled Eggs Super!” and “On Beyond Zebra!” were all retired by the author’s estate.