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‘We need the literature of other countries to expand our
horizons and stimulate our ideas. Without it, we are not only
diminished, we are starved’
(The Times, Magnus Linklater 29/06/05)
Doctor Proctor's Fart Powder: Time Travel Bath Bomb
by Jo Nesbo
Age Range: 9-11
Doctor Proctor has gone off to Paris to find his one, true love, Juliette Margarine. When Lisa and Nilly receive a mysterious postcard they begin to worry that something is wrong. After deciphering the code on the card Nilly and Lisa travel to Paris to help Doctor Proctor who is in a spot of bother as a result of his new invention, the Time-Travel Bath Bomb – a bath bomb that must be thrown into a bath tub and once it’s full of suds the keen traveller must submerge themselves under the water while holding their breath and concentrating hard on the time and place they wish to go to – After all, what could be simpler? As usual though, there are plenty of things that can go wrong.
As Nilly and Lisa search for Doctor Proctor they find themselves taking part in the Tour de France, the Battle of Waterloo, the French Revolution; suggesting the design of the Eiffel Tower to Gustave Eiffel and preventing Joan of Arc from burning at the stake. History will certainly never be the same again!
As well as dealing with the chaos of the time-travel bath bomb Nilly and Lisa also have to contend with some unsavoury characters such as the scary Raspa, Doctor Proctor’s previous assistant and arch villain, Claude Cliché, Juliette’s husband and his gang of hippos, so called because they all hail from a place called Innebrède where everyone is related to each other and look like hippopotamuses.
Norwegian writer, Jo Nesbø is an international bestseller for his adult thrillers but the Doctor Proctor books, (four titles in all), combine wacky stories reminiscent of Roald Dahl with the mad-cap humour of Monty Python.
Of course there is the obvious hilarity in relation to the inventive fart powder, but there is so much more to these books including parody, satire, and some very witty dialogue including more delightful exchanges between Nilly and his long-suffering teacher Mrs Strobe.
Humour is often difficult to translate from one language to another but Tara Chace has done an amazing job with the translation and Mike Lowery’s quirky, amusing black-and-white drawings compliment the story so well.
No matter how crazy the plots, each story is clever, inventive and completely different. Children will love these ‘laugh-out-loud’ books and adults, sneaking a peak to discover what is so funny will find themselves chuckling away and unable to put them down either.
A truly hilarious read and once you’re hooked you’ll want to read the other titles in the series too – Doctor Proctor’s Fart Powder, Doctor Proctor’s Fart Powder: The End of the World. Maybe and Doctor Proctor’s Fart Powder: The Great Gold Robbery