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The Incredible Adventures of Professor…

The Incredible Adventures of Professor Branestawm (1933)

by Norman Hunter

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Professor Branestawm (1)

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I love the theory of Professor Branestawm - the nutty professor who gets into all sorts of scrapes when his inventions go wrong. The inventions, brought to life so beautifully by Heath Robinson, more or less lived up to my expectations. I don't know whether I'm a little jaded, or I really have lost my humur mojo, but I found some of the stories mildly amusing, more of them irritating, and a couple, just a couple, had me laughing out loud.

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 is just a pipe-dream. We still have a mobile library in our rural area, which you have to be ready for on the right day of the month for the right half hour when it is scheduled to be in the village! Otherwise it's a bus to the main library in the city, although there is one attached to a school in a nearby town. I digress. 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 MG reader. Frankly, I was surprised that it is given a 9 reader designation, since I felt the stories were suitable 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 received by a young reader. I will give my copy to a friend of the right age and ask for feedback. He's already read it, I expect!

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" .

No, I'm being too hard. 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? ( )
  Jemima_Pett | Nov 11, 2014 |
I found the adventures themselves to be a mixed bag, although the better ones were very amusing. The long-suffering Mrs Flittersnoop made me laugh, as did some of the W. Heath Robinson illustrations (all of which were great), but I really could have done without the n-word (which only appears once - in "Colonel Branestawm and Professor Dedshott" for those who wish to avoid it). ( )
  Moomin_Mama | Oct 24, 2014 |
How is it that this book has eluded me all my life? It should be in every library in the world. Yes, a worthy choice for 1001 Children’s Books You Must Read.

Professor Branestawm (his last name, I learned, is a homophone of the word “brainstorm”) is a classic absent-minded professor. The professor spends his days creating amazing inventions like a Spring-Cleaning Machine and an Elixir of Vitality and a Clock-That-Doesn’t-Need-Winding, always accompanied by his patient housekeeper Mrs. Flittersnoop and his loyal friend Colonel Dedshot.

I can see movie makers eating this movie up.

A 1001 Children’s Books You Must Read Before You Grow Up. ( )
  debnance | Jul 16, 2012 |
Wacky inventor problems.

Your good natured crazy inventor guy and kids collection here, quite entertaining.

From automated cricket bowling machines to schemes to prevent library fines when you have misplaced the same book from a dozen different libraries.

A fair bit of fun to be had in your 'jolly good, wot' style of English humour.

http://notfreesf.blogspot.com/2007/10/incredible-adventures-of-professor.html ( )
  bluetyson | Oct 23, 2007 |
I thought these stories were wonderful when I was about 9, and I still do. My favourite story ('The Professor Borrows a Book') will have a special resonance for many on LibraryThing. The professor cannot find the copy of The Life and Likings of a Lobster that he has borrowed from Great Pagwell library, and has to borrow another copy from Little Pagwell library. Then both are overdue, and he can't find either, and has to rush to Upper Pagwell library for a copy to return to the other libraries and then take out again. Eventually, when he is cycling round keeping fourteen libraries going on one copy, the librarians all come to tea, and find all the lost books shelved in different sections of his library ('Lobsters', 'Biographies', 'Natural History', 'Folklore', etc.). Clearly, Professor Branestawm needs LibraryThing! ( )
2 vote MyopicBookworm | Sep 4, 2007 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Norman Hunterprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Robinson, W.HeathIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Welcome to the wonderfully nutty, fabulously entertaining mishaps of Professor Branestawm! Professor Branestawme is madly sane and cleverly dotty. He simply hasn't got the time to think about ordinary things - his head is too full of brilliant ideas and wild inventions. Yet the professor's absent-mindedness means that his devices rarely seem to work as they should...Still one of the immortals of children's literature - Professor Branestawm's adventures continue to amuse generations of young readers. Ages 9+.… (more)

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