The Incredible Adventures of Professor Branestawm Paperback – 4 Sep 2008
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"A triumph of child-friendly chaos" (Irish Examiner)
Still one of the immortals of children's literature - Professor Branestawm's continues to amuse generations of young readers. The wonderfully nutty, fabulously entertaining mishaps of Professor Branestawm. He's madly sane and cleverly dotty. Professor Branestawm is the most absent-minded inventor you'll ever meet and no matter how hard he tries his brilliant ideas never seem to keep him out of crazy scrapes.See all Product description
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There is an active table of contents here which you may find quite useful because although some incidents are mentioned in later stories here this is really a book of short stories. If your child has never read any Branestawm stories before then this is an ideal introduction, especially if they enjoyed the Christmas special which was on the BBC late last year. Branestawm makes Wallace (of Wallace and Gromit) look quite normal by comparison as he comes up with inventions that although created with good intentions always seem to cause chaos and damage.
As we follow Branestawm here we see the kind of troubles he gets into, and those that he causes other people. Whether he is creating a device to capture burglars, a pancake making machine or something to help with spring cleaning, things always seem to go awry, indeed whatever Branestawm touches has unforeseen consequences, including just going on holiday and attending a party.
As Branestawm manages to go from one comic mishap to another he pulls others in as well, and not just his housekeeper and the colonel, giving children a lot of comic misadventures to enjoy. This book is also brought alive by Heath Robinson’s great illustrations, especially those of the inventions of the madcap professor. This is great for children to read or even have read to them, as well as still entertaining and diverting enough for us adults, whether you have read any of the stories before or not.
There are 14 Incredible Adventures, and I laughed at the Pancake one (partly because I love pancakes and would have loved a machine making them for me – so would my mum, I reckon) and the Too-many Professors, which was a wonderful confection of chaos I could really imagine. I also delighted in no.3 The Professor Borrows a Book. I suspect the intricacies of the library system described would be lost on today’s youngster, since libraries are under threat, and the thought of each village having its own library with scores of rarely-requested books is just a pipe-dream. But the Professor’s principle of getting a copy of the same book out of one library in order to check it back into a different one is not unlike the way some people use credit cards, so I expect people will relate to it.
I kept wondering whether the book is too dated for the modern young reader. I was surprised that it is given a 9+ reader designation, since I felt the stories were ideal for six and upwards. Some of the words are quite long, and there is a lot of reflective narrative that is eminently suitable for a bedtime story, but I’m not sure how well it would be tackled by a young reader.
The quote from Charlie Higson on the front cover “Can still make a modern kid laugh like a drain” is something I bear in mind. Charlie Higson writes hugely popular kids books featuring vampires and seriously messy stuff. I assume he knows what a modern kid laughs at. It’s just that I can easily put four words in front of that quote, which makes more sense to me. Those are: “I wonder if it” .
The plots are ridiculous in the slapstick tradition and very clever. The names of people, places and organisations are full of delightful puns. It is beautifully written. And I laughed out loud at some of them. What more do you want?
It arrived super fast as promised and in time.
My 8 yr grand daughter loved it, she was reading it in bed and chuckling to herself. Had put her new ipad down to read it. Not a bad feat for a book in this day and age. Asked if there were more books in the series. I gave her another I had brought and she was thrilled. Read to chapters to the 6 year old and she loved it too.
Will use this book seller again and again for there fast service