When I became an elementary school librarian, it didn’t take me long to realize that some of the books I would be reading–and promoting–would deal with a fair amount of potty humor. For some reason, that kind of stuff especially appeals to 2nd-5th grade boys and girls. The ever-popular Diary of a Wimpy Kid series has its share of grossness. The Captain Underpants books are also in high demand. Well, I was recently introduced to the first book in a new-ish series that takes potty and fart “humor” to a whole new level.
Doctor Proctor’s Fart Powder by Jo Nesbø is, as one can tell from the title, a book about a very powerful fart powder. I received a free copy of this book, and I decided to give it a quick read before I put it in my school library. That was a wise decision. At times it was funny, but I really wasn’t thrilled about reading a book where the main focus was flatulence. I quickly grew tired of the entire premise. I’m thinking many of my students might feel the same way. (At least, I hope so.)
This story takes place in a small town in Norway, and a tiny young boy named Nilly has just moved into the neighborhood. He and his new friend Lisa kind of inadvertently become assistants to the strange Doctor Proctor, who is trying to invent something that will make him famous. And Doctor Proctor has done it. He’s invented a fart powder that will make people have super-powerful farts with no bad smell. In addition to the regular version of this powder, he’s also created a special powder that will lift who ever ingests it into outer space. It’s Fartonaut Powder!
Nilly and Lisa decide to sell the regular powder to the kids at school, making them instantly popular. They, along with Doctor Proctor, decide to send the special powder to the scientists at NASA, but, before they can go through with their plans, thieves decide to steal both powders! Now, Doctor Proctor and Nilly are in a world of trouble, and Lisa needs to find a way to fix everything. It won’t be easy, and it may just involve sewers, trickery, an anaconda, and escaping from a seemingly inescapable prison. (Who knew a book about farts could be so suspenseful!) Will Lisa, Nilly, and Doctor Proctor win in the end, or will all of their plans–ahem–run out of gas? Read Doctor Proctor’s Fart Powder to find out!
Anyone who knows me can probably already surmise that I wasn’t a big fan of this book. I don’t like potty humor (most of the time), so a book that was essentially one long fart joke kind of left me cold. Also, I wasn’t terribly impressed with the writing, and I think it will be hard for some young American readers to relate to the Norwegian setting. While this book does have some merits, and I will tell some of my students about it, I don’t think this is one I’ll be putting in my school library. There are better books that are not so blatant with the fart humor and have the same kind of voice that was present in this book. Do with that what you will.
If you’ve ever seen the absolutely dreadful British children’s movie Thunderpants (starring a very young Rupert Grint), you might already have some idea of what Doctor Proctor’s Fart Powder is like. That movie and this book are very similar and, in my opinion, equally bad.
If you enjoy a good fart joke and still want to give Doctor Proctor’s Fart Powder a try, you might also like to know that this is only the first book in the series. As far as I can tell, there are four books so far. You might want to check on Amazon or Goodreads for the exact series order.