Doctor Proctor's Fart Powder
- Simon & Schuster Ltd
- Publication Date:
- 26 April 2012
- General fiction
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Proving that some humor is universal, this Norwegian import is a romp worthy of all the comparisons to Roald Dahl that I've read in other reviews. Tiny Nilly moves to a new neighborhood in Oslo and discovers that his neighbor, Doctor Proctor, is a bit of a nutty professor who invents wacky, seemingly useless stuff. Like an industrial-strength fart powder that doesn't smell and can hurl a human into the atmosphere. Enter the villains, a set of twin boys named Truls and Trym and their Hummer driving father who plot to steal the powder and sell it to NASA before the good doctor can. And just because this sort of premise isn't weird enough there is a man-eating snake in the sewers and the problem of there being no gunpowder to set off the cannons on Norwegian Independence Day. Oh yeah, it'll all come together in the end. If the subject of farting as an integral part of the narrative turns you off, if it would prevent you from enjoying a funny and engaging narrative, then that's a shame. While I certainly don't condone gratuitous use of potty humor to engage young readers we have, for better or worse, lost those days where a story like this could be told about belching or something more innocent. In fact if I think too hard about this there's a quite bit of The Absent Minded Professor in this story, which makes it hardly the most original idea. But Nesbo keeps things light and, uh, airy, and fills the story with bits of the preposterous that make it genuinely funny.Like flushing poor Nilly down a toilet so he can escape a prison cell and swim (yes, swim) through raw sewage in order to escape, but becomes swallowed by the boa that lives there. And there's Nilly, watching as the snake's digestive juices dissolve the rubber on his shoes, accepting his fate and not the least bit frantic (maybe a little nervous)... until he notices something promising about some of the other contents in the snake's stomach. Without giving too much away, Nilly does indeed escape and Nesbo gives this image of a snake flying out the sewer drain and flailing around the skies above Oslo's harbor like a giant balloon quickly deflating.Nesbo has, until recently, been an award-winning writer of detective fiction in Norway and this is his first foray into children's literature. Normally I get a hinky feeling when I hear about successful adult writers tapping the children's market because sometimes it feels like the author is trading on their name, and the publishers are simply going with a known quantity over seeking out quality. That isn't the case here as Nesbo clearly knows how to entertain the audience with clever, goofy humor. And I sincerely hope that the second book, Doctor Proctor and the Time Bathtub, manages to find its way to translation soon.ALA question: Could this be a contender for the Mildred L. Batchelder award, or is it not serious enough?
This is Jo Nesbo's, the hugely successful Norwegian author, first children's book and it is hilarious. A great suggestion for reluctant readers. Nilly has just moved into the neighborhood, where he meets Doctor Proctor, an inventor, and Lisa. Doctor Proctor's latest invention: fart powder that makes people fart really, really loud farts. When they tinker with the formula, they invent fartenaut powder, a powder so powerful they offer it to NASA to use as a substitute for expensive rocket ships. They begin selling the fart powder to eager kids, but the two bullies in the neighborhood insist on getting the powder for free -- so Nilly secretly substitutes the fartenaut powder and scares the willies out of the boys. Things get even crazier from there.
Typically when I see a kids' book with words such as "fart" in the title I don't give them a second glance. However, this book is written by one of my favourite thriller authors and the simple fact that he had written a children's a book was enough to make me *have* to read the book, never mind what it was called or what it was about.Surprisingly, though the book is about an invention of farting powder, there is not what I call a great deal of "toilet humour" to be found. Perhaps it's cultural, or it gets lost in translation, but the humour comes from different directions. I thought this was a delightful, funny, well-written story.Nilly is new in the neighbourhood, he is very tiny for his age. He meets neighbours Lisa on one side and Doctor Proctor on the other. Dr. Proctor lets them in on his latest invention which is a Farting Powder. When no real use for the powder can be found they decide to sell it as a novelty item to kids, but twin bullies Truls and Trym want theirs for free so Nilly gives them an extra shot in their powder which sends them flying up into a tree. Dr. Proctor has an industrial strength version of the powder which he thinks belongs safely in the hands of NASA to be used for rocketless space travel. But then someone steals the industrial strength powder for evil purposes.The story is full of excitement and adventure. Nilly finds himself in extreme situations from being sent to jail to being eaten by a boa constrictor called Anna Conda. The story also has a wonderful cultural appeal to it as well with plenty of inside jokes on Norway's size and not-so-famous status in the world. It's quite amazing that Nesbo, who writes such stunning adult thrillers, has the ability to write such a fun, whimsical children's story as well. He certainly is a talented writer. I highly recommend this. It will appeal to both boys and girls, but I'd certainly add this to any Books for Boys list. A hilarious romp. It would be great to see Nesbo come out with another children's book in the future. (Just as long as it doesn't interfere with his thrillers' schedule :-)
When Lisa’s best friend moves from Norway across the world, she prepares herself for an unpleasant school year. Of course, that’s before Nilly, the smallest red-headed boy she’s ever seen, moves in next door. Nilly, a courageous, outspoken boy, quickly befriends both Lisa and Doctor Proctor, a pleasantly mad scientist who lives on the other side of Nilly’s new house. Doctor Proctor, a frustrated inventor who never seems to invent anything quite <i>useful</i> enough for anyone, finds Nilly’s creativity a helpful asset to his inventions, especially his latest one – Fart Powder.
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