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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: The End of the World. Maybe
by Jo Nesbo
Age Range: 9-11
‘The Norovision Choral Throwdown’ is the most popular show on TV and everyone in Norway is hooked, everyone that is except Doctor Proctor, Nilly and Lisa who are far too busy to watch it. When people start to develop speech impediments across the country the redoubtable trio begin to suspect that the population are somehow being hypnotised through the reality TV programme.
It soon becomes apparent that Norway has been infiltrated by moon chameleons that have a predilection for stealing socks from washing machines; their leader is none other than Hallvard Tenorsen, a singing chiropractor from Sweden who is the choral conductor on the ‘Norovision Choral Throwdown’ programme. However, his real name is Yudolf Staler and his grand plan is to create a Greater Norway and invade Denmark. Can Doctor Proctor, Nilly and Lisa stop the invasion in its tracks, or is this actually the end of the world?
To help them in their quest is Perry, the seven-legged hiccupping Peruvian sucking spider that Nilly keeps under his hat, Gregory Galvanius, a craft teacher at Nilly and Lisa’s school, nick-named Mr Hiccup, who has a secret; he’s really a kind of frog who speaks Froglish, and their formidable teacher Mrs Strobe.
Norwegian writer, Jo Nesbø is an international bestseller and is probably best known for his adult thrillers but his Doctor Proctor books, (four titles in all) have also enjoyed enormous success. They 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 fartonaut powder and some baboons with rather large, hideous hemorrhoids, but there is so much more to this book including parody and satire.
In The End of the World. Maybe. Maybe the amusing music references will certainly be appreciated by adults: BABA’s music – ‘Honeydew’, ’Waltzing King’ and ‘Hunney hunney, hunney/Yur so funney/Eets a crazy world’ sung in a thick Norwegian accent is always being played to calm the population down and ‘She luvs ya, nah, nah, nah’ and Also ‘Yelp! I need a bandage. Yelp! Not just any bandage’ by De Beetels are also very popular.
The megalomaniac Yudolf Staler and his grand plan to create a Greater Norway sound familiar; a parody of Adolf Hitler and his plans for a greater Germany and there are also other subtle references to the Second World War too.
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: Time-Travel Bath Bomb and Doctor Proctor’s Fart Powder: The Great Gold Robbery