I ordered this for my 9 year old son; the following (and the title of this review) are his comments after reading this book. As a gauge of his recent favorite books, he is a huge fan of Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson series and Michael Chabon's Summerland.
"This book was alright. The author seemed to be writing for older kids, like in 4th grade or higher. But, the humor and the silliness is really the kind of thing that kids much younger than that really like. It kind of reminded me of the jokes in books like Captain Underpants; those are really for little kids. Unfortunately, I don't think little kids are ready to read such a long book. So, I would not read this again myself but might read it to my little brother, who is six and in Kindergarten."
I am a bit worried that his review says more about him than the book. But, I share...
As a children's librarian, sometimes I look at the rows of books on my shelves in despair. Diary of a Wimpy Kid is checked out in toto, and my young patrons have read all of Captain Underpants. What else do I have to offer them? Errr, Frances Hodgson Burnett's A Secret Garden? Beverly Cleary?
With Doctor Proctor's Fart Powder, I need look no further! I can't go wrong with a book with "fart" in the title. Nor will my young patrons be cheated at check out. They'll be taking home with them a book involving anacondas in sewers, TWO kinds of fart powder (Doctor Proctor's Totally Normal Fart Powder and the more powerful Fartonaut Powder), bullies, villains, chase scenes involving Hummers, dungeons, mustachioed police, a powder that turns you glowing translucent green so that you can see your own skeleton, marching bands, sewer sliding, and a foiled robbery. All tied together with a very neat plot that keeps snapping the reader to attention and in the end leaves the two young farts, Lisa and Nilly (William) good friends. Mike Lowery's minimal line drawings add greatly to the drollery.
Author Jo Nesbo has done a terrific job of creating a great story around what parents have always considered a disgusting and unspeakable human function and what kids, esp. boys, consider to be one which is endlessly fascinating, i.e., farting. Jo Nesbo is to farting what D.H. Lawrence was to that other disgusting and unspeakable human function!
Oh if only one could get past the American revulsion for the word "fart," because here you'd find a very witty, very funny, and very literate children's book. The flap says this is the Norwegian author's first children's book, which I can believe, because he never talks down to his kid-sized readers.
It is unfortunate that this book might search for its audience, since the subject matter is clearly juvenile but the writing is of such high quality, even a little sophisticated, it is really geared for older (and very bright) kids. I thought my brainy 14-year-old would enjoy it because he loves Harry Potter and the Series of Unfortunate Events books...but he wouldn't touch this. I know it was because he thought it was a "little kid's book." It's not!!! But...there is that "fart" word, and the cartoon cover.
The book is beautifully designed, with double-spaced lines and a hardcover volume of a perfect size for holding and curling up to read.
Recommendation: Definitely, and I hope it finds the audience it deserves.
on May 16, 2011
Listen reveiwers, readers and potential buyers...
This book is really cool. I enjoyed it and I'm twelve. Honestly, there are not enough books in the world with farting in them! Please go home and read this book, it will bring out the inner child in you!
On the back of the ‘Doctor Proctor's Fart Powder’ written by Jo Nesbø is the claim that this is the story of a fart. And that is the truth.
But the prejudice that Nesbø used a vulgar and meaningless way to attract attention reader should leave aside. This is a high quality and very tense novel for children and young teenagers for which ridiculous physiological human need served only as a very good teaser for even better story.
Jo Nesbø, the Norwegian writer known for his world-wide popular thriller books, came into children's literature with eccentric figure of the old Doctor Proctor and so far he wrote four novels about his lucid inventions.
A redhead Nilly is a tiny boy who moved to Oslo and in his new neighborhood he will become close with a girl Lisa and senior Doctor Proctor, an unusual scientist who for years unsuccessfully is trying to patent his unusual inventions. Trying to blend medicine for hay fever, Dr. Proctor quite accidentally invented the substance that provokes blowing unbelievable strong “winds”, though fortunately they don’t stink. Nilly and Lisa will become Dr. Proctor assistants, but guardians as well when his loved experiments someone will attempt to steal...
Winds blowing in children's literature came with the book BFG (‘Big Friendly Giant’) written by Roald Dahl, whose characters, with the help of bubbling potion were belching and blubbering on their backside. Not at all vulgar, Nesbø has used same ridiculous motif to attract children's attention and on it built an elaborate plot that would, no doubt, look good in the animated version.
Peculiar boy characters such as Greg Heffley and Horrid Henry recently became favorites among young readers and Nilly fits perfectly into this trend. The lack of height he successfully compensates with his sarcastic attitude and frequent, but polite conflicts with authorities.
The frayed motif of unusual scientist and children that helps him didn’t hurt well-made story that reveal some interesting details about Norway as well as the shortcomings of the police system for which the author couldn’t withstood not to mock. Parallel plot that follows the exciting life of an underground sewage in Oslo, through which dangerous creatures are going, contributes to a sense of tension, and the author at the very end successfully links that part of plot to the primary story.
Nesbø, above all, wants to make laugh his young readers but he didn’t neglect providing the lessons. Discretely and intermittently he gives advices about life, justice and friendship, not leaving the novel entirely for ridiculous and suggestive names of characters and Proctor inventions, but provides an exceptional story. The humor is not slowing down from start to finish, and eccentric characters, fluent text and engaging storytelling skills give the impression that Nesbø really successfully sailed into the waters of children's literature.
Therefore, I’m sure that novels about Dr. Proctor audience will receive with the same enthusiasm as Nesbø’s mystery thrillers.
Pencil sketched illustrations with an emphasis on the expression of emotion and humorous details were signed by Per Dybvig.
on May 28, 2010
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 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 :-)
This book starts a bit awkwardly, but then the author, (a very successful adult mystery writer just now venturing into the middle grade genre), sort of gets his middle grade writing sea legs and the fantastical adventure story that follows is funny, creative and entertaining.
The first few chapters are all over the place. The tone is sometimes cutesy and arch - the writing equivalent of sing-songy - and there is a touch of ironical detachment that I suspect might be off-putting for a young reader. But then, like a swimmer getting into cold water, the author seems to get comfortable, commits whole-heartedly to the endeavor, and begins swimming about quite nicely.
Our heroes, brainy Lisa and puckish Nilly, are very engaging characters and complement each other nicely. They are bright, resourceful and stalwart, and are well served by the dry and slightly deadpan tone that the author finally settles on. We have a bullying adult villain who cries out for a deserved comeuppance from the very first and his two dim sons, whose fates are suggested by the titular fart powder. When you add a pleasantly mad scientist and then let the plot drift into adventure/fantasy, well that does turn out to be a formula for success.
This is not your standard "fart" book, in that not all, (or even most), of the jokes are based on the repetition of fart jokes, butt jokes, and other toilet humor. That's there, of course, but there is also dry and clever humor aplenty, as well as some charming moments and a few especially sly jokes to entertain adults and older readers.
So, all in all, an entertaining and well written and sly adventure that becomes more and more engaging as it progresses. You will grow very fond of our two heroes as you follow their story.
A perfect book for the 11 year old nephew, I heard he could not put it down. My phone call to him yielded many hilarious anecdotes. I could see him crying while laughing while he told me his favorite parts. This isn't a kid who gets into reading so even though it's not one of the most cultured of topics, he loved it. He said it should be made into a movie.
on May 15, 2015
I'm a fan of Jo Nesbo's Harry Hole crime books, so I was intrigued to see he had a series of children's books. I figured with the word "fart" in the title, it would probably appeal to my 7 year old son. The book was a huge hit with him, and me, as well! Don't let the title fool you, this is not low-brow toilet humor. Sure, there's a lot if talk about darts, but this book is clever, funny, and well-written. Lots of giggles, some surprises, and a thoroughly enjoyable reading experience. "What do you have to say about that?"
on December 15, 2014
This is a very cute and enjoyable book. (I listened to the audio version to see if it was OK for grandkids.) It was very cute and enjoyable enough for adults, as well. I bought the paperback but they (8, 6, 3) have shown no interest in it. But we'll see.