"Henry Potty and the Pet Rock" by Valerie Frankel

Pros: Silly, entertaining, random, funny
Cons: A bit random for me, but that’s a matter of personal taste
Rating: 4 out of 5

Review copy courtesy of Valerie Frankel

“Henry Potty and the Pet Rock”, by Valerie Frankel, is an unauthorized parody of the “Harry Potter” books–humor for all ages, children to adult. I’ll give you the same warning I gave Ms. Frankel–this isn’t my usual type of reading or reviewing, so I’m not the best judge of this sort of material, but I’ll do my best to tell you what to expect so you can figure out for yourself whether you’d enjoy this book!

This book has been translated from American English into British English. From there it was translated into English English, then went through a brief stint in Swedish, just for a change of pace. After that it was translated back into American English with possible lapses, and currently exists as the original draft that you hold in your hands.

Henry Potty is an unusual lad with a destiny to fulfill. So when the Chickenfeet Academy for gizzards, run by Professor Bumbling Bore, offers him an education, his family (desperate to get rid of him before Menial Drudges United succeeds in obtaining more rights for folks such as Henry) quickly packs him off to Chickenfeet. A short shopping trip with his fairy godmother later, Henry meets his new roommates, Really Wimpy and Horrendous Gangrene. Poor Henry–he’d really been hoping they were members of his fan club when they showed up at his door! After all, every heroic main character needs a fan club, not to mention expensive merchandise.

Soon, deadly classes and boring professors are the least of Henry’s concerns, however. Lord Revolting, who once flushed Henry’s goldfish down the toilet, has a terrible plan. And Henry, being the hero of the book, naturally must do everything in his power to stop it. Even if it does mean standing guard outside the girls’ bathroom to keep the pink toilet paper from getting stolen.

I can’t quite give this book a 5 out of 5, because it wasn’t “near-perfect” for me, which is what that rating means. However, I believe those things that didn’t wow me were a matter of personal taste–humor, after all, is one of those concepts that means such different things to different people.

Since the book is aimed at a wide range of ages–children to adults–I did wonder if some of the jokes and puns would confuse children, but to be honest, the author has a lot more experience with kids than I do (as a teacher among other things), so I’ll give her the benefit of the doubt on that one.

The humor is of the random, silly, puns and funny coincidences kind. It’s an easy afternoon’s read, enjoyable and quirky, poking light-hearted fun at the “Harry Potter” series. If you’re in the mood for a silly parody it’ll be perfect, and even if you aren’t it’ll still be fun. The writing is solid and enjoyable, the characters have color and personality, and the Chickenfeet Academy certainly comes alive with detail!

In short, I’m glad I read it. Even though it isn’t my normal fare it was a fun read, and I think many folks would get a real kick out of it. Ms. Frankel’s talent for funny, tight writing certainly shines through!

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