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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
by Jo Nesbo
Age Range: 9-11
Ten-year-old Nilly, (short for William), is so tiny that he’s practically invisible; he has bright red hair, a turned up nose and a lot of freckles. He lives in a yellow house on Cannon Avenue opposite the red house where his friend Lisa lives with her mother and Commandant father. Nilly’s eccentric neighbour, Doctor Proctor, a tall, thin man with long white unkempt hair and a beard, lives in the crooked blue house next door.
Doctor Proctor is an inventor who believes he has finally created something to help him become world-famous: a super-strength fartonaut powder that can propel people into space. He may even be able to sell it to NASA! But terrible twins Truls and Trym and their father decide to steal Doctor Proctor’s invention so Nilly and Lisa must help to thwart their dastardly plans. Be ready to enjoy this nonsensical adventure involving a firework extravaganza, a trip to prison, a wild chase through the sewer system of Oslo and an escaped anaconda.
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. The irrepressible Nilly cleverly outwits twin bullies Truls and Trym with his words so that they don’t realise he is insulting them. Then there are the amusing exchanges with his teacher Mrs Strobe – when she asks him what he’s talking to Lisa about in class he replies “ We were just discussing why women like Lisa and yourself are much smarter than men Mrs Strobe” he says “ I think women ought to rule the world”. Nilly has his teacher totally bewildered on more than one occasion.
Nilly’s font of knowledge as far as other species are concerned is his grandfather’s book ‘Animals You Wish Didn’t Exist’ (aka A.Y.W.D.E.). The snake in the sewer with frighteningly big teeth is called Anna Conda.
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: Time-Travel Bath Bomb, Doctor Proctor’s Fart Powder: The End of the World. Maybe and Doctor Proctor’s Fart Powder: The Great Gold Robbery