Fans of the Captain Underpants children's book series are in for a surprise with one of their favorite characters.
In the twelfth book of the series officially titled Captain Underpants and the Sensational Saga of Sir Stinks-A-Lot, George and Harold meet their future selves.
And as author and illustrator Dav Pilkey quietly reveals, Harold is a gay character.
"Soon, everyone had gathered together in Old George's studio," the passage read. "Old George, his wife, and their kids, Meena and Nik, sat on the couch, while Old Harold, his husband, and their twins, Owen and Kei, plopped down in the giant giant beanbag chair."
The passage concluded, "'We're your dads when they were kids,' said Harold."
While some are applauding Pilkey's subtle but significant words, others are quick to question if it's right for their kids.
It's a situation the famous author has encountered before. Back in 2013, Pilkey's work appeared on the American Library Association's (ALA) 2013 Top Ten List of Frequently Challenged books because some critics tried to have the book banned due to "offensive language and violence."
But in a piece written for the Guardian just last month, Pilkey responded to the critics.
"I understand that people are entitled to their own opinions about books, but it should be just that: a difference of opinion. All that's required is a simple change," he wrote. "Instead of saying ‘I don't think children should read this book,' just add a single word: ‘I don't think my children should read this book."
He added, "When it comes to books, we may not all agree on what makes for a good read—but I hope we can agree that letting children choose their own books is crucial to helping them learn to love reading."
Captain Underpants and the Sensational Saga of Sir Stinks-A-Lot is available in bookstores now.