26. Bubble in the Bathtub by Jo Nesbo

Bubble in the Bathtub by Jo Nesbo. Illustrated by Mike Lowery. Translated by Tara Chase (Canada) - (US)
Doctor Proctor's Fart Powder, Book 2

Pages: 425
Ages: 10+
Finished: Feb. 5, 2011
First Published: 2008, Norwegian (Jan. 2, 2011 English Trans.)
Publisher: Aladdin
Genre: children, science fiction, humour, historical fiction, time travel
Rating: 3/5

First sentence:

There was total silence in the gymnasium.

Acquired: Received a review copy from Simon & Schuster Canada.

Reason for Reading: Next in the series.

Lisa and Nilly receive a postcard from Doctor Proctor in Paris, France with an 1888 French stamp on it. The card is written in code. When they have figured out the message, they realise Dr. Proctor has gone back in history to rescue his beloved Juliette Margarine and now he needs their help. So the two pack a few supplies including a baggie of Fart Powder, jump in the bathtub and set off for Paris 1888. Things get mixed up and Nilly and Lisa end up in separate places and the two of them travel through French history sometimes meeting up with Doctor Proctor or Juliette Margarine. They visit an early Tour de France race, Joan of Arc, Napoleon, the Battle of Waterloo and Gustave Eiffel. But all the while they are being tracked by Dr. Proctor's former assistant, now evil, who wishes revenge against him.

I enjoyed this story and thought it was fun. I enjoyed the historical sidetracks and the tongue in cheek jokes about the historical figures. The book has various big humor scenes and Nilly and Lisa are a pleasure, just as they were in the first book. However, I do have some issues with this second book in the series. Both books are recommended by the publisher for ages 8-12 and the first book is certainly within that age range and would even make a great read aloud for ages 5-7. This book, however, is written for a different audience. The older end of the age range, say 10-12. The silly goofy humour is more subtle and not so obvious, if one doesn't know who the historical figures are or about the time periods the fun is going to be lost on the reader and finally, the grown-up love story between Doctor Proctor and Juliette Margarine (while very low key) is going to turn off some boy readers. I know my son would flip at all the times the word "love" is used. I won't be passing this one onto my son for bedtime story reading as I know it's not his type of book, at all. Myself, I'm glad I read it and did enjoy it, though I wish it was more like the first book. A third book has already been written in Norway, so we can expect another coming to North America sometime in the future and I will be reading it, hoping for a return of the more farcical storyline of "Doctor Proctor's Fart Powder". Fortunately, the book does not rely on any events from the first book for its plot, though some events are summarized, and they can be read independently of each other.


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