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Johnny and the Bomb Paperback – May 5 1997


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Corgi; New edition edition (May 5 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0552529680
  • ISBN-13: 978-0552529686
  • Product Dimensions: 10.7 x 1.7 x 17.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 181 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,085,235 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From School Library Journal

Grade 5–8—This trilogy ends with a bang. Having stumbled upon a way to travel through time, Johnny knows exactly when a German bomb will be dropped on his English village. Time travel turns out to be tricky, however, as it takes Johnny and his friends several trips to alter history just enough to save their town, but also to ensure that everything stays the same when they return home. Adding to the suspense is the imaginative vehicle of a crazy bag lady's squeaky cart to time travel, often with unpredictable results. The climax is reached at rocket speed as Johnny becomes increasingly aware of the many dimensions of time and ultimately relies on this ability to save the townsfolk. Pratchett deftly weaves alternate realities together to form a satisfying conclusion, keeping confusion at bay by treating the weightier issues of time travel with his trademark humor. Alternating between 1990s Britain and World War II, he offers plenty for thoughtful readers to mull over even as he pokes fun at the genre. While there is little connection to the other books in the series, Johnny's quirky sidekicks are back, each sidesplittingly portrayed and effectively advancing the plot. It is Johnny who cares most about the effect the war will have on his sleepy town, and up until the very last page, readers will, too.—Emily Rodriguez, Alachua County Library District, Gainesville, FL
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

 • "Enormously entertaining and contains more wry observations than you could shake a Heinkel at." --Daily Telegraph

 • "Thrilling and impressively funny." --Mail on Sunday

Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews

By E. A Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on July 1 2003
Format: Paperback
If you read the Johnny Maxwell trilogy, you can actually see Pratchett's undeniable talent blooming. In the third book, Pratchett gives us a smart person's time travel fantasy, full of hilarious situations and interesting info on the trouser legs of time. (Don't ask)
Old bag lady Mrs. Tachyon is considered nuts but harmless, pushing around an enormous trolley full of bags and a mangy cat. One day she's found unconscious and beaten in a street; after Johnny and his pals have her taken to a hospital, they put her trolley in Johnny's garage for safekeeping. But Johnny soon finds that the trolley has more than garbage -- there's a new newspaper dated from decades ago.
Before you can say "what the disc!", Johnny and his friends (dignified Yo-less, wannabe-nerd Bigmac, abrasive Kristy, and not-so-dignified Wobbler) are whisked back in time to 1941. At first they're intrigued by the weirdness of the old place, but things take a nasty turn: Bigmac is arrested, while Wobbler is first harassed by a bratty kid and then accidently left behind. When Johnny and his pals reappear, they soon discover that their brief trip back in time has completely messed up the timeline...
This book is more complex than "Johnny and the Dead" and better-written than "Only You Can Save Mankind." Pratchett's quirky characters, occasional social commentary and funny speculation (the trouser-legs-of-time description is the best time description you can find). The appearance of the elderly Wobbler is a stroke of genius, as is the "... I'm a Muslim" joke that serves an important part of the plot.
Pratchett's writing is clearer and quirkier here than before.
Read more ›
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Format: Paperback
In my opinion, Johnny and the Bomb is the best book in Terry Pratchett’s Johnny Maxwell trilogy. While classified as juvenile fiction, this book bears the strongest resemblance of the three to Pratchett’s Discworld ideas and characterizations, containing much more social commentary, satire, and sidesplitting comedy than Only You Can Save Mankind and Johnny and the Dead. For such a normal twelve-year-old kid, Johnny Maxwell has some amazing adventures. This time around, he becomes a time traveler. Old Mrs. Tachyon, whom we have met briefly earlier in the series, is now revealed to be something more than a crazy bag lady; she is a time-traveling crazy bag lady. When she turns up injured, Johnny and his friends summon an ambulance for her and take her trolley cart (complete with her ornery cat Guilty) to Johnny’s garage for safe keeping. Johnny notices that some of her bags seem to move of their own accord at times, and this discovery quickly leads to an episode of quite unexpected time travel. Eventually, the gang (Johnny, Wobbler, Bigmac, Yo-less, and Kirsty) go back in time to 1941, the very day preceding an unexpected and accidental bombing of one section of town by German bombers. They try to be careful not to mess the future up, but Bigmac finds himself in trouble with the police, Wobbler is assailed by a brat who keeps calling him a spy, and somehow the future gets mucked up a little bit in the process. Finding their way back home to the future is a difficult task; arriving back home without Wobbler and having to figure out a way to go back and retrieve him is even harder, especially since it involves convincing the 1941 authorities that the town is going to be bombed at a specific time.Read more ›
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Format: Paperback
Yeah, well, another time-travel story - and a quite boring one as it is. But if you're a fan of Pratchett's, even this weakest of the Johnny-novels is fun to read. His ingenious way with words makes up for the overall lack of originality of this book.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 17 reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
The best book in Pratchett's Johnny Maxwell series March 24 2003
By Daniel Jolley - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
In my opinion, Johnny and the Bomb is the best book in Terry Pratchett's Johnny Maxwell trilogy. While classified as juvenile fiction, this book bears the strongest resemblance of the three to Pratchett's Discworld ideas and characterizations, containing much more social commentary, satire, and sidesplitting comedy than Only You Can Save Mankind and Johnny and the Dead. For such a normal twelve-year-old kid, Johnny Maxwell has some amazing adventures. This time around, he becomes a time traveler. Old Mrs. Tachyon, whom we have met briefly earlier in the series, is now revealed to be something more than a crazy bag lady; she is a time-traveling crazy bag lady. When she turns up injured, Johnny and his friends summon an ambulance for her and take her trolley cart (complete with her ornery cat Guilty) to Johnny's garage for safe keeping. Johnny notices that some of her bags seem to move of their own accord at times, and this discovery quickly leads to an episode of quite unexpected time travel. Eventually, the gang (Johnny, Wobbler, Bigmac, Yo-less, and Kirsty) go back in time to 1941, the very day preceding an unexpected and accidental bombing of one section of town by German bombers. They try to be careful not to mess the future up, but Bigmac finds himself in trouble with the police, Wobbler is assailed by a brat who keeps calling him a spy, and somehow the future gets mucked up a little bit in the process. Finding their way back home to the future is a difficult task; arriving back home without Wobbler and having to figure out a way to go back and retrieve him is even harder, especially since it involves convincing the 1941 authorities that the town is going to be bombed at a specific time.
The characters of Johnny's remarkable friends are fleshed out in this novel to a much greater extent than they were in the previous two novels. Yo-less, a black kid, is less than pleased to find himself dubbed Sambo by the folks living in 1941, and the extremely forceful young Kirsten is almost as upset about being treated like a "little lady." Johnny, for his part, often finds himself putting his sanity at risk by contemplating the ways and whims of time travel. I found this book to be hilarious; the time travel part of the tale is a little wild and crazy, but hypotheses about the different legs of the Trousers of Time is vintage Pratchett material. Old Mrs. Tachyon is a wonderful character, seemingly rather insane based on her thought processes and tendency to spout gibberish all the time, she is perhaps more sane than anyone else around her; time traveling is enough to warp anyone's mind, Johnny reasons. I was rather delighted to hear Mrs. Tachyon mumble the words "Millennium hand and shrimp" at one point because these are the very same words often spoken by Foul Ole Ron on the Discworld. This adventure really is the type of thing you might expect to find on Pratchett's famous planetary creation, and I daresay any Discworld fan should enjoy this book immensely. I find myself wishing for more Johnny Maxwell stories; I feel as if I know these characters now, and they are a fascinating, increasingly funny bunch of guys to hang around with.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Another adult hooked on this supposed kids' series Oct. 31 2006
By R. Kelly Wagner - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
For the Terry Pratchett fans out there, nothing more need be said. It's Pratchett, you want to read it, the only reason you've been hesitating is because it's marked as a kids book (juvenile, young adult...) But this one isn't just for kids. As with any Pratchett book, there are layers and layers, and some of them wouldn't be obvious to kids at all.

For example, kids who have only seen the Batman movies, and not the original TV show, will miss it entirely when Mrs. Tachyon is saying "dinner, dinner, dinner, dinner..." and continues a few more times between interruptions, finally ending with "dinner, dinner, Batman!" which is where adults (at least my generation) will realize she's not saying dinner, she's humming the theme song. Also, kids the age of our protagonists, 13 or so, may not recognize the "red shift" when they get to it; that's usually covered a bit later in the science curriculum, such as college physics.

The protagonists are Johnny, and his friends Wobbler (who wobbles), Bigmac (who is large), and Yo-less, who is apparently the only black in Blackbury who doesn't say yo. They are joined in this book by Kirsty/Kasandra (she changes her name each week), who is hyper-intelligent and socially even more inept than the others. Each of this team has his own strange store of skills or knowledge. These talents turn out to have entirely different implications when travelling in time than they do in their own time. Bigmac's car-stealing abilities (which some parents may object to in a kids' book) turn out to be impaired when trying to steal a car that doesn't have power steering and power brakes. On the other hand, Yo-less's lack of cool is suddenly changed when he puts on period clothing and suddenly looks, as Johnny says, as though he plays the saxophone in a band. Yo-less does, though get exposed to the more primitive social prejudices of 1941, as does Kasandra. And Bigmac finds out that the skinhead symbols and attitudes that he wears only as a social item suddenly have real meaning, and it's not pleasant. OK, there's a bit of a moral or two snuck in here, about thinking about what things mean. There is also at least one moral that readers one and all will ignore, just as the characters do, about following advice (and about giving it).

Johnny has been working on his World War II project for school since the previous book, "Johnny and the Dead." One of the funny bits in the book is how, whenever a kid claims he's doing "a project," he winds up with all sorts of information that is unsuitable for kids, and/or hitherto classified or secret; the remembered horror of school projects makes all the adults give in so that they don't have to think about it any more!

Other reviewers have described much of the plot, so I won't repeat it here. One thing that some readers may wish to note about this plot is that it isn't just time travel, it's alternate history as well, and for kids this may serve as an introduction to the whole sub-genre of alternate history. Meanwhile, some of the high points:

* Mrs. Tachyon's cat, Guilty - and his tastes in food.

* The ice that forms on the characters during their last-minute rush for the air-raid siren.

* The importance of pickles.

The series has no noticeable sexual content, and no real bad language; the most dangerous things in it for young readers are the ideas, which may make them *gasp* think! It may also make them lifelong Pratchett addicts. In the opinion of an existing Pratchett addict, there's nothing at all wrong with that!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Charming July 16 2013
By Kurt A. Johnson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Johnny Maxwell is an ordinary boy, living in the all-too ordinary town of Blackbury. However, when he discovers that a crazy old homeless lady is really a time traveler begins to wonder what is really going on. There was a terrible incident during World War 2 when a whole street in Blackbury was wiped out (the "bomb" of the title), and something seems to be pushing him towards doing something about it. Now, Johnny and his friends are in a race across the decades to make a real difference in their world!

This is the third book in Terry Pratchett's charming Johnny Maxwell trilogy. The story is quite great, pure Terry, with lots of interesting characters and happenings. The storyline is wonderfully interesting and complex, as history bends itself it pretzels as Johnny and his friends have adventures.

If you like good fiction, and I mean great fiction, then I can't recommend this book enough. And even though it is part of a trilogy, you can read it by itself and feel like you missed nothing. This is a charming book, with interesting characters, and a wonderfully entertaining storyline. I highly recommend this book!
In a frequently side-splitting and thrilling yet deeply thought-provoking manner June 5 2007
By KidsReads - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Johnny Maxwell worries about many things, such as money, AIDS and his father (who has left the family), but that doesn't explain the dreams he has --- day and night --- of war planes and bombs. Fortunately, he can vent all he wants to his four buddies: Yo-less, Bigmac, Wobbler and Kirsty.

If only he had a time machine like the one they just saw at the movie theater, then all of his problems would be solved. He could set his life up to be perfect. On the way home from the time-travel film, they find a shopping cart belonging to homeless, crazy Mrs. Tachyon, who is passed out beside it. After the ambulance hauls the woman off, he puts her cart in his grandfather's garage for safekeeping.

Johnny doesn't look through the cart, though he can't help but notice some weird things in it, like fish and chips wrapped in newspaper, which no one does anymore. Even stranger, the paper looks new but is dated from World War II. Kirsty believes that the cart is a time machine. Johnny disagrees --- until he is hurtled back in time for a few moments.

Back in the present, an ominous black car chases Johnny and his friends. They time-travel, landing in their very own British hometown, on May 21, 1941. Johnny knows that the town was bombed on that day, killing many innocent people. Can Johnny and the gang do anything to change that fact without destroying the future? In the meantime, his pals are accused of being war spies --- and one is in danger of actually being erased by their trip into the past.

JOHNNY AND THE BOMB touches on heavy topics, including war, the nature of time, history (Can it be changed? And can change be a good thing?), gender and racial prejudice, and more --- in a frequently side-splitting and thrilling yet deeply thought-provoking manner. It also continues the Johnny Maxwell tradition of portraying distant "others" (such as people from the depths of history books) as alive and real.

In short, this book is amazing. And highly recommended. (By the way, if you haven't read the first two books in this trilogy, ONLY YOU CAN SAVE MANKIND and JOHNNY AND THE DEAD, you're missing out on some fantastic reading.)

--- Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon
Time travel for smart people July 1 2003
By E. A Solinas - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
If you read the Johnny Maxwell trilogy, you can actually see Pratchett's undeniable talent blooming. In the third book, Pratchett gives us a smart person's time travel fantasy, full of hilarious situations and interesting info on the trouser legs of time. (Don't ask)
Old bag lady Mrs. Tachyon is considered nuts but harmless, pushing around an enormous trolley full of bags and a mangy cat. One day she's found unconscious and beaten in a street; after Johnny and his pals have her taken to a hospital, they put her trolley in Johnny's garage for safekeeping. But Johnny soon finds that the trolley has more than garbage -- there's a new newspaper dated from decades ago.
Before you can say "what the disc!", Johnny and his friends (dignified Yo-less, wannabe-nerd Bigmac, abrasive Kristy, and not-so-dignified Wobbler) are whisked back in time to 1941. At first they're intrigued by the weirdness of the old place, but things take a nasty turn: Bigmac is arrested, while Wobbler is first harassed by a bratty kid and then accidently left behind. When Johnny and his pals reappear, they soon discover that their brief trip back in time has completely messed up the timeline...
This book is more complex than "Johnny and the Dead" and better-written than "Only You Can Save Mankind." Pratchett's quirky characters, occasional social commentary and funny speculation (the trouser-legs-of-time description is the best time description you can find). The appearance of the elderly Wobbler is a stroke of genius, as is the "... I'm a Muslim" joke that serves an important part of the plot.
Pratchett's writing is clearer and quirkier here than before. The storyline is far smoother and more detailed, and he puts in extra scenes that add to the characters (such as Yo-less dealing with a '40s woman's racism) without distracting us from the story. And the funnier scenes (like the police interrogaton, or the "spy!" harrassment) are absolutely hysterical.
As before, Johnny is the one really normal person as well as the smartest. Yo-less makes less of an impact unless dealing with stereotypes, and Bigmac makes very little unless being interrogated. The rather self-satisfied Kristy barges undiplomatically at Johnny's side (though she does deal with '40s sexism in a very amusing way), and Wobbler has the subtlest and perhaps most interesting role.
"Johnny and the Bomb" incorporates the strengths of the previous two books, finishing it off with a flourish (and lots of explosions). Funny, cute, a time travel story for the thinking reader.


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