Johnny and the Bomb: The Johnny Maxwell Trilogy, Book 3

 
Mopey in the first half, exciting in the second.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

One of the main characters steals cars and other items. In the past, minor characters exhibit racism and sexism.

Violence

A bomb is dropped on a residential neighborhood and people are killed, a gun is fired at a child, a cat claws people, a girl uses judo on an adult and knocks him down.

Sex
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism

Doc Martens and Tesco (a British market)

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Adults smoke cigarettes and pipes.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that one of the main characters is a marginal delinquent, and this is played for laughs. Also, the central event is a neighborhood bombing during World War II.

User reviews

Parents say

Not yet rated
Review this title!

Kids say

Not yet rated
Review this title!

What's the story?

In this conclusion to the trilogy, Johnny Maxwell and his friends -- Yo-less, the sophisticate; Bigmac, the delinquent; Wobbler, the hefty nerd; and Kirsty, the snippy genius -- find an elderly bag-lady sprawled in an alley. After getting her an ambulance, they take home her shopping cart full of stuff, only to discover that it's a time machine. Sent back to 1941 they have to decide if, and how, they should prevent a German bombing that killed all the people on Paradise Street. But even small changes in the past have big consequences in the present, and each decision splits off a new, parallel reality.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

If you like your science fiction to make at least a pretense of scientific sense, Terry Pratchett is not your guy. Even though he references Stephen Hawking and his ideas, the time travel here is more akin to magic, except that even magic follows some rules. There is no attempt at explaining why or how it works, or even having it work in a consistent way -- Pratchett is more interested in using it to propel his riffs on whatever amuses him.

The first half of the book can get a bit tedious, as Johnny and his friends mope and bicker, and Johnny sometimes seems like a candidate for Prozac. Once they have a clear goal, though, the story picks up considerably, and becomes exciting and suspenseful. But Pratchett's fans, while they want a good story, mainly come for his clever British humor, and there's plenty of it here, though some seems a bit more strained than usual. In the Pratchett canon, the Johnny Maxwell Trilogy is easier to read and deliberately provides more to talk about than his other books and series. So, while it's generally weaker storytelling than, say, his Bromeliad or the Tifanny Aching Adventures, it's a good choice for discussion groups.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the paradoxes of time travel raised by the author. What are these "trousers of time" that they keep talking about? How can two different versions of the same event exist simultaneously? How can someone continue to exist after they've prevented their own birth?

Book details

Author:Terry Pratchett
Genre:Science Fiction
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:HarperTrophy
Publication date:April 1, 2007
Number of pages:245
Read aloud:9
Read alone:9

This review of Johnny and the Bomb: The Johnny Maxwell Trilogy, Book 3 was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

What parents and kids say

Write a user reviewThere aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

Poll

Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Digital Compass