Arthur's Underwear (Arthur Adventures Series)

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No matter how Buster reassures him, Arthur keeps having nightmare that he'll forget to put his pants on before going to school. So he and Buster devise a number of schemes to keep him from falling asleep...after all, he can't have bad dreams without going to sleep! Or can he? This hilarious Arthur Adventure is sure to strike a chord with parents and children alike.

Author Biography: Marc Brown is the author and illustrator of the Arthur Adventure series and D.W. titles, and ...

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No matter how Buster reassures him, Arthur keeps having nightmare that he'll forget to put his pants on before going to school. So he and Buster devise a number of schemes to keep him from falling asleep...after all, he can't have bad dreams without going to sleep! Or can he? This hilarious Arthur Adventure is sure to strike a chord with parents and children alike.

Author Biography: Marc Brown is the author and illustrator of the Arthur Adventure series and D.W. titles, and co-developer of the Emmy Award-winning PBS children's television series Arthur. He lives with his family in Hingham, Massachusetts, and on Martha's Vineyard.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
K-Gr 2-Brown wrote this "For all the kids who insisted on an underwear book." Arthur aficionados will chortle at each picture of boxers and briefs. They'll also empathize with the young aardvark's recurring dreams about public humiliation that inevitably become reality the day his pants rip in the cafeteria. The cook helps him through the ordeal and his nightmares finally disappear. However, Buster, who revealed his best friend's secret fears to their classmates, succumbs to similar dreams at the end. Brown's illustrations remain faithful to the series. There's nothing groundbreaking here, but it's still enjoyable in its familiarity.-Gay Lynn Van Vleck, Henrico County Library, Glen Allen, VA Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780316106191
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
  • Publication date: 9/28/2001
  • Series: Arthur Adventures Series
  • Edition description: Reissue
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 181,438
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 6.90 (w) x 9.70 (h) x 0.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Marc Brown is the creator of the bestselling Arthur Adventure book series and creative producer of the number-one children's PBS television series, Arthur. He has also created a second book series featuring D.W., Arthur's little sister, as well as numerous other books for children. Marc Brown lives with his family in Tisbury, Martha's Vineyard.


Marc Brown recalls a phone call he received late one night at his home in Hingham, Massachustts, just outside of Boston. On the other end of the line, a small, obviously young voice asked, "Is Arthur there?"

"I told him that Arthur had already gone to bed," Brown recalled for the Los Angeles Times in 1996. "And so should he."

That such phone call is not an isolated occurrence at the Brown household is testament to the popularity -- and approachability -- of Brown's creation. Arthur is not simply the world's most famous bespectacled aardvark, he is also a kid just like any other, grappling with same issues his readers are: annoying sisters, terrifying teachers, and babysitting nightmares. Arthur may be a drawing, but to his fans, he seems quite real.

"I feel like I'm listening to my own kids," Carol Greenwald, who produces the companion television program for PBS, told People in 1997. "I have to bite back the urge to say, 'Stop bickering.'"

By now, the Arthur series has produced more than 10 million books as well as a hit television show for PBS and made his creator a wealthy man. But the early days were a different story. Separated from his wife, living with his mother-in-law and recently released from his job as a college professor, Brown came home in the mid-1970s to a request from his 4-year-old son, Tolon:

Tell me a story.

And make it about a weird animal.

So, as Brown reached into the possibilities of uncommon zoology for his son's nocturnal enjoyment, he also concocted the beginnings of a career. He took his new creation to a friend at Atlantic Monthly Press who gave him guidance, and he landed a publishing deal for the first book in what would become a series: Arthur's Nose. And the big money started rolling in. His first check was somewhere around $70 to $80. (The number seems to vary with the telling.)

"I was imagining buying a new car, and instead I got groceries," he told the Sun-Sentinel in South Florida. "It was about five years before I felt like I could make a living doing this."

Brown had long dreamed of illustrating children's books, inspired in high school by Maurice Sendak's classic Where the Wild Things Are. As a student at the Cleveland Institute of Art, he says he found that such pursuits were considered too pedestrian for the serious artistic mind: He has said his decision to include his illustrations in his submission for the institute's drawing award cost him the prize.

After Cleveland, he worked as a cook and a delivery truck driver who kept getting lost. He also farmed chickens. He found freelance work as a professional illustrator in the textbook field and even worked on an Isaac Asimov book for his first non-textbook assignment.

Arthur, though, eventually opened all the right doors. And, aside from that series, Brown has also illustrated books for other children's authors and drawn on his own life for books outside the Arthur titles. The end of his first marriage eventually yielded a children's book, Dinosaur's Divorce: A Guide for Changing Families.

"When I went through a divorce..., I went to the library hoping to find books to help my two young sons through the experience," he is quoted in Contemporary Authors as saying. "I found little information, and what there was very sexist, depicting children living with the mother and the father living in a depressing residential hotel. Our experience was different: my sons lived with me. I started keeping a file for a book I had in mind to write one day."

Brown makes no secret of his habit of mining his own life for his children's fiction. The Arthur books, in fact, are something of a family album: Arthur's sister D. W. is a composite of his own sisters, Arthur's adventures in babysitting were inspired by his own experience watching over two children who tied him to a chair and scampered off to find hiding places in their enormous house. Grandma Thora doesn't even have a different name from his own grandmother, who used to save all of his childhood drawings and later encouraged him to go to art school.

And when Brown and his second wife had another child, Eliza, he decided he shouldn't be the only one saddled with the less enjoyable aspects of child care. He gave Arthur a baby sister, Kate.

"I though if I had to change diapers," he told the Christian Science Monitor in 1997, "so should Arthur."

Good To Know

Brown changed his first name from Mark to Marc because he was so enthralled with the work of painter Marc Chagall.

He told People magazine in 1997 that Arthur is the spitting image of his third-grade class picture.

Brown dresses up as Arthur on Halloween, which makes his house a must-stop for the children of Hingham, Massachusetts.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Marc Tolan Brown
    2. Hometown:
      Hingham, Massachusetts and Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts
    1. Date of Birth:
      November 25, 1946
    2. Place of Birth:
      Erie, Pennsylvania
    1. Education:
      M.F.A., Cleveland Institute of Art, 1969

Interviews & Essays

Meet Arthur's Talented Creator

Arthur, the lovable aardvark, has been around for almost 25 years. The star of dozens of bestselling books and an Emmy award-winning, No. 1-rated children's TV show on PBS, he's adored by kids -- and adults -- everywhere. More than just a funny, fabulous storybook character, Arthur promotes reading, writing, and creativity in kids. But he wouldn't exist without the hard work and devotion of his talented creator, Marc Brown. Jamie Levine of Barnes & recently spoke to Marc Brown about his life, his work, and his latest Arthur Adventure, Arthur's Underwear.

Barnes & When you were a child, did you always know you'd be an artist of some sort when you grew up?

Marc Brown: Always? I don't know about that. But I do remember doing a drawing in second grade, using a silver crayon to make stars on some blue construction paper, and I think that was the first recollection I have where I really liked what I was doing and I was happy with what was happening. But it wasn't until I was in junior high school that I noticed that my Grandma Thora (who appears in the Arthur books as one of the characters) was keeping all of the artwork I had given her over the years in her bottom dresser drawer. And that was a really important thing for me to see: That this artwork had some value. And I kind of looked at it differently from then on. I've read that Arthur was born from a bedtime story you told to your son. How did that story become the Arthur we all know?

MB: This happened at a time in my life when I had just lost my teaching job -- the college where I was teaching closed -- and I was wondering what I was going to do to make a living. I had a wonderful art teacher in junior high and high school who said, "If you want to be successful, do what you love to do." I remember, for the first time in my life, having a feeling after I had told this bedtime story to my son and drawn him a little picture of what Arthur looked like, that I really loved that. And I remember trying to figure out how I was going to make a living out of it. I was working with a textbook publisher on a freelance basis, and I started asking some of the editors where to go if I had a story for a publisher, and they sent me to the Atlantic Monthly Press, which was later absorbed by Little, Brown and Company. I brought in a rough dummy of the book Arthur's Nose to an editor by the name of Emily McCloud and she said, "I like it but it needs a lot of work." And she was so right! I was using three paragraphs to do what one well-crafted sentence should do, and I learned so much from her.

It's funny, people often ask me, "How many books did you have rejected before the first one was published?" and I kind of went in reverse. I had the first one published -- and then a lot of others rejected. Are you surprised by how enormously popular Arthur has become?

MB: My sister is a kindergarten teacher, and she just said to me the other day, "My friends are always coming up to me and saying, 'What do you think about your brother? Isn't it amazing?'" I think I'm a little bit too close to what's going on because I'm so focused on working on new shows and new books, that I don't have a perception of what Arthur's doing out there, really. Well, let me tell you -- you're huge!

MB: Arthur is. I'm just his agent. One of the reasons I think Arthur is so popular is that you're so good at capturing the thoughts and feelings of real children in your characters' words and actions. How are you able to do that?

MB: My first reaction is that I remember when my first son was born, and as he started to take in the world during his first few years, I was so in awe of that childhood sense of wonder that I tried to tap into that, too. I made a promise to myself that I didn't want to lose touch with that and wind up back in that "adultist" world that we live in -- where we lose touch with how children see the world. I believe that through my kids I tried to get back there a little bit. But I'm not sure that's the sole reason. I think I just trained myself to be a good observer and a good listener to kids and to focus in on what issues are important to them. I noticed that the dedication in Arthur's Underwear is "For all the kids who insisted on an underwear book." What's the story behind this?

MB: I spent about 15 years visiting schools and libraries around the country, and I really miss it. It's something I just physically don't have time to do anymore because of all the TV and books. But when I made these visits, kids and I would talk about different things Arthur should do or different subjects to write about. And underwear, every time you mention it in elementary school, it just gets the biggest laughs; it's hysterical! For years I was wondering how to work that into a book -- and it finally happened. Hopefully, kids will like it. I had an opening of an art exhibit here in Martha's Vineyard recently, and when I told kids what the new Arthur book was, they just all started giggling. I'm very excited to see what happens with it. Tell us about your work on the Arthur TV show.

MB: The TV show wasn't going to happen unless PBS/WGBH allowed me to have control over all the elements. At the time, I was very happy with what was happening with the books and didn't really feel like I needed television rights. The thing that seduced me about television was the fact that WGBH had an agenda that was near and dear to my heart -- and that was to take television, which is a really powerful medium, and use it to make kids want to read more. That's how they hooked me in. I said, "OK, I'm with you, but you guys have to let me pick the animators and the voices and the music..." and they let me do it! I really wanted to do it as well as it could be done and not just sign my rights away and take the money and go home. Because I've seen a lot of projects be ruined because that initial vision is gone -- the people working on it just don't care as much. Arthur's been around for almost 25 years. Do you see an end in sight to your work with him?

MB: It's kind of like a runaway freight train at the moment -- and I'm holding onto the caboose. It's a wonderful ride, so I'm staying on it for now. I still enjoy writing and illustrating books about Arthur. I love going to my studio and working on the books. And I really love working on the television show. And you never know what's going to happen. Like right now I'm working on a live stage show, going to auditions and rehearsals, and working with costume and set designers and musicians who are writing songs -- that's been incredibly fun. It's all different facets of Arthur -- and different media that are sort of coming up as an opportunity now. These are things I dreamed about for years, and now it's like all those 25 years-worth of dreams are happening within a very concentrated period of time. And it's a lot of fun. But I guess I won't be unhappy to have things slow down in the future. They can't stay white-hot forever. What advice do you have for kids who say they want to be writers or illustrators?

MB: Well, I think that you can't ever read enough. I think that reading as much as you can gives you an opportunity to hear all different kinds of writers' voices -- and it's your education, really. To be a writer is to read. And for illustrators, it's the same thing. You have to practice. It's like playing basketball or playing the piano -- the more you do it, the more facile you become. So keep a sketchbook and draw your family, draw your pets, draw your friends, draw anything you can. Just keep at it. Learn to build those muscles.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 7 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 24, 2012


    My four year old loves Authur!!! He especially likes that he can "read" this book,

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 19, 2004


    arthur's underwear is the best book on the market. i loved reading this book sooooooooo much, i read it all the time, it is a madd AWESOME book, and if my house was on fire, i would run into my house and save my book!!!

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 30, 2011


    this is a great book for kids because my sister likes it and thinks it's funny.
    Maggie age 9

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 5, 2007

    A reviewer

    I think you should read this book because it is really funny. I like it and he dreams a lot. My favorite part in the story is when Arthur lost his pants. You will love it and your friends will too. The book is about Arthur.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 11, 2000

    Parents: This book is great for your kids!

    This book is great for your kids, because it teaches them that it is o.k. to be embarressed. Everyone get's embarressed at least once in their life.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 25, 2013

    Qhhjj,lllllkbfgerwdrhtqwgyyrsjgvmbgdgfffyvgrytyyj k n b,n n n


    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 9, 2013

    Great book!!!!!!!!


    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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