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Henry Potty and the Deathly Paper Shortage: An Unauthorized Harry Potter Parody Paperback – June 13, 2008
Frankel appears to have gained confidence with this new release and book flows smoothly. The plot is more intricate than that of The Pet Rock, and incorporates aspects of many of the Harry Potter novels, along with other well known stories. Henry Potty is pure fun with tons of laugh-out-loud scenes. - Front Street Reviews
Attacking many fantasy stables and cliches ranging from 'Lord of the Rings' to the 'Wizard of Oz' to classic Walt Disney films, and so much more, "Henry Potty and the Deathly Paper Shortage" is riotously entertaining reading for fantasy enthusiasts in general, and young Henry Potter fans in general. -Midwest Book Review
Frankel will pick up her own army of fans with this original take on the Potter books...I laughed out loud at several passages and highly recommend this book to fans of humorous fantasy novels and parodies. Suitable for all ages, this is one that can be shared by the whole family. -Book Club Forum
About the Author
Valerie Estelle Frankel was born at an early age. Since then, she's taught most grades, from kindergarten through high school, and survived with most of her limbs intact. Her many short stories have appeared in over seventy magazines and anthologies including Legends of the Pendragon, Rosebud Magazine, and The Oklahoma Review. While an undergrad, she became the Editor in Charge of Magical Kingdoms for The Sneeze, a disreputable UC Davis humor publication. She then became the youngest person ever to receive a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from San Jose State University. She now teaches writing there, and was recently promoted to an office down the hall from the women's bathroom, rather than in it. Many of her short stories lurk on her website, along with young adult fantasy resources and an interactive kingdom especially for kids. Readers who long to waste their valuable time can play Chickenfeet Academy Games, check out the Henry Potty Laughicon, and cavort with flying pigs for hours at HarryPotterParody.com.
Top customer reviews
The reason why "Henry Potty and the Deathly Paper Shortage" reminds me of the parody movies is because of the randomness of some of the happenings throughout the text. I'm not so sure that there is a logic to some of the scenarios, but maybe there simply isn't supposed to be. However, I did find the book funniest when I could see the rationale to some of the satire, like the scene when the three heroes, Henry Potty, Really Wimpy, and Horrendous Gangrene, find one of the Plot Devices, the villain's Lord Revolting's ring of power. This scene is golden.
I also feel that my favorite character is Horrendous, who's the most intelligent of the three heroes, the most feisty, and the most frustrated by the idiots she's surrounded by. I also find it interesting how this story is about writing a story, and seemingly, writing a story badly, using cheap tricks just to make a story make sense. I am not a fan of the Potter books, and I get the sense that Frankel is not, also.
Overall, I found parts of this book very creative and easy to read, but the many random happenings at times threw me off and slowed me down.
Anything calling itself a parody faces some tough literary challenges. It must, of course, readily bring to mind the original work it seeks to spoof. It should be creative and entertaining in its own right, without depending too much on the reader's knowledge of the original. Finally, it needs to be something of an homage, and not just a silly mockery.
In Henry Potty and the Deathly Paper Shortage: An Unauthorized Harry Potter Parody, author Valerie Estelle Frankel's flying vacuum cleaner clears these literary hurdles with room to spare. If there was a single example of homo sapiens on this planet who was not familiar with the Harry Potter series, he or she could still thoroughly enjoy this book (assuming he or she had a solid command of the subtle nuances of the English language and a strong sense of humor. Academic, really, since this individual does not exist).
Frankel skillfully draws upon many sources to create a story which keeps the reader on his toes, frantically trying to keep track of the book's myriad characters, details and action sequences. In other words, it's not that much different than the original. Her writing style brings to mind a sort of hybrid between J.R.R. Tolkien and Woody Allen, only with fewer references to Kierkegaard.
While it would be overwhelming to try and summarize the plot, Henry Potty and the Deathly Paper Shortage is great fun to read, not least because of Frankel's well-crafted prose. The author clearly takes pleasure in making words do more than their basic job, and knows where and when to insert puns without their becoming the sole points of humor. Thus, the reader is spared page after page of needless punishment.
Very entertaining, and highly recommended.
Reviewed by Joel Bresler
I must admit that I did have a little trouble reading this book because at times it struck me as a bit juvenile but then I remembered that the suggested age range was 9-12 and I started trying to read with the eye of a pre-teen and then I found the book much more enjoyable. Many if not most of the gags revolve around things that might literally make the reader gag and it seems that the author has tried at times to be as disgusting as possible. I soon came to the conclusion that the target group really consisted of 9-12 year old boys and since I was once a 9-12 year old boy myself I could easily see the appeal of such humor to that group.
With that I mind I handed the book off to my seven-year-old grandson. He is not really all that familiar with Harry Potter so I didn't know how well he would relate to Henry Potty but he loved it and would sit and laugh hysterically as he came upon descriptions of various disgusting smells and sights. There is no doubt in my mind at all that to my grandson this book rates a solid five stars.
As for me my favorite part of the book came when the author lampooned J. K. Rowling's decision to inject controversy into her series by announcing after the last book came out that one of the main characters was gay. Because this is a parody of the final Potter book that character is already dead but his ghost keeps popping in and asking, "Did I mention that I was gay?" In many ways this lovable ghost comes across as much less silly than Ms. Rowling and her announcement. Parody with a bite, I love it!
I can't say that as a whole this was one of the funniest books that I have ever read but then again I am well beyond my pre-teen years. Still, the writing was crisp and the dialogue was very well done even if some of the jokes did blow past my gross threshold. Most importantly though my grandson really enjoyed this book and it actually kept him interested and that is quite an accomplishment. I might not have given this book five stars but my grandson most assuredly did and on this one I am going to go with the opinion of a true expert.