Sunday, October 25, 2009

The seven professors of the Far North by John Fardell

There are lots of great books about megalomaniacs who plan world domination and who are thwarted by kids (for example The Mysterious Benedict Society) and here is another one that certainly does not disappoint. The 7 Professors of the Far North are indeed a collection of seven professors – six have good intentions for the world and one is an evil mastermind planning world domination via genetic engineering. The location for his evil experiments is the far northern island of Nordbergen located somewhere near Scandinavia.

Our hero, eleven year old Sam Carnabie, gets caught up in this wild adventure when he goes to stay with Professor Ampersand and his great niece and great nephew – Zara and Ben. Professor Ampersand is an inventor with terrific ideas which are not always entirely successful. My favourites are his cooking inventions. “I’ll boil some peas in a wee while”. Ten minutes later Sam uses the bathroom.

“Sam wasn’t surprised to find that the bath was positioned on a raised platform, an arrangement that, as far as he could work out, enabled old bath water to be used to flush the toilet. Nor was he surprised to notice that the shower cubicle had six water nozzles and three mechanical brushes arranged up and down the inside walls (He stepped into have a closer look but stepped out again hurriedly as the brushes began to move automatically). But he was surprised, when he started to wash his hands, to find dozens of tiny green balls cascading out of the hot tap. He yelled and unlocked the door as Ben and Zara came running. ‘They’re peas!’ said Ben. ‘Uncle Alexander must have put them in the wrong compartment.’ They tasted one. ‘Well at least they’re cooked’."

After the six professors are kidnapped by men in combat suits wielding laser guns, Sam, Ben and Zara must travel to the far north. For the journey they use a variety of transportation and are assisted by some very helpful and likable people. The initial journey is by a secret underground railway which is accessed via a shop that sells shoe polish with the delightful name Bright and Buffwelle.

This book is such a rich and rewarding story. The adventure is fast paced, cold (it is the Arctic!) and thrilling. The friendships are strong and loyal and there is heaps of good humour along the way. I thoroughly recommend this book for students in Years 4-6. Read more about the author here. I will certainly look out for the sequel - The Flight of the Silver Turtle.

No comments: