Johnny and the Bomb (Johnny Maxwell Trilogy #3) [NOOK Book]


Twelve-year-old Johnny Maxwell has a knack for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. This has never been more true than when he finds himself in his hometown on May 21, 1941, over forty years before his birth!

An accidental time traveler, Johnny knows his history. He knows England is at war, and he knows that on this day German bombs will fall on the town. It happened. It's history. And as Johnny and his friends quickly discover, ...

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Johnny and the Bomb (Johnny Maxwell Trilogy #3)

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Twelve-year-old Johnny Maxwell has a knack for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. This has never been more true than when he finds himself in his hometown on May 21, 1941, over forty years before his birth!

An accidental time traveler, Johnny knows his history. He knows England is at war, and he knows that on this day German bombs will fall on the town. It happened. It's history. And as Johnny and his friends quickly discover, tampering with history can have unpredictable—and drastic—effects on the future.

But letting history take its course means letting people die. What if Johnny warns someone and changes history? What will happen to the future? If Johnny uses his knowledge to save innocent lives by being in the right place at the right time, is he doing the right thing?

Mixing nail-biting suspense with outrageous humor, Terry Pratchett explores a classic time-travel paradox in Johnny Maxwell's third adventure.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Sharon Salluzzo
Her unusual name may cause some sophisticated readers to consult the nearest encyclopedia, but even those who do not know that a trachyon is a special particle that is able to travel faster than the speed of light, will quickly learn that Mrs. Trachyon is a strange bag lady. She inadvertently lets a brick fall on an unexploded bomb in England during World War II. Flash forward to 1996, where we meet Johnny and his friends, Bigmac, Yo-less, Wobbler, and Kirsty. When Mrs. Trachyon is involved in an accident, Johnny takes her grocery cart of belongings and her cat Guilty back to his house. When he touches the amorphous bags in the cart, Johnny and his friends find themselves transported back in time to that fateful day when the German bombs hit their town. Johnny, a worrier by nature, discovers that he can take charge when he needs to. Pratchett's concept of parallel worlds, likens them to a pair of trousers: There are two different pantlegs, and each represents a path in time. They are quite similar. For each action we take, there is a consequence that causes the future to go in a certain direction. Each of our actions does matter. More than a lesson in history or physics, this encourages readers to accept that each of us is responsible for our own actions. Pratchett takes on issues such as Black stereotyping with his characteristic humor. Lively characters, humor, and a fascinating plot will make this a popular read. Reviewer: Sharon Salluzzo
VOYA - Donna Scanlon
Johnny and his friends Yo-less, Bigmac, Wobbler, and Kirsty take on time travel in the final volume of the Johnny Maxwell trilogy. When Johnny finds Blackbury's resident bag lady, Mrs. Tachyon, injured in an alley, he gets help for her and keeps her shopping trolley-loaded with garbage bags and an ill-tempered cat named Guilty-in his garage for safekeeping. The bags are literally full of time, and Johnny and the gang can travel in time if they touch them. Johnny wants to try to rescue the occupants of a street in Blackbury who died in an air raid in 1941, and of course, he and the gang run into the issue of changing the future by changing the past, what Pratchett calls the "trouser legs of time" theory. In addition, on their first try, Wobbler gets left behind, resulting in an alternate future for them all. Nevertheless they work it out, assisted indirectly by the aptly named Mrs. Tachyon from her hospital bed. Pratchett is in fine form here; the narrative is briskly humorous and insightful. Johnny has always been an appealing and well-developed character, and now his friends become more rounded and defined characters. Yo-less exhibits his keen intellect more sharply, for example, and Kirsty's forthright manner proves to be one of her flaws as well. Even Wobbler gets to be wiser than he might otherwise appear. Pratchett fans and newbies alike will not be disappointed.
KLIATT - Paula Rohrlick
In this time travel adventure, 13-year-old Johnny has nightmares about planes and bombs and at first worries he's going mad. Then he discovers that a bag lady's shopping cart has the power to transport him back in time to 1941, the night a Nazi bomb fell on Paradise Street in his hometown of Blackbury, England. If he and his group of misfit friends can go back and warn people in time to save lives, how will that affect the future? As always, fantasist Pratchett is a delight to read, and this concluding volume in a trilogy about reluctant hero Johnny is both funny and thought provoking as Johnny wrestles with doing the right thing and with understanding the tricky nature of time. The novel, originally published in England in 1996, was short-listed for Britain's Smarties Prize and for the Carnegie Award, and it can stand alone. Americans shouldn't have too much difficulty with the British slang, and all readers will quickly be caught up in the plot.
School Library Journal

Gr 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 RodriguezCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

From the Publisher
 • "Enormously entertaining and contains more wry observations than you could shake a Heinkel at." —Daily Telegraph

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

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061975202
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 10/6/2009
  • Series: Johnny Maxwell Trilogy Series, #3
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 229,241
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • File size: 806 KB

Meet the Author

Terry Pratchett

Terry Pratchett is one of the world's most popular authors. His acclaimed novels are bestsellers in the United States and the United Kingdom, and have sold more than 85 million copies worldwide. In January 2009, Queen Elizabeth II appointed Pratchett a Knight Bachelor in recognition of his services to literature. Sir Terry lives in England.


Welcome to a magical world populated by the usual fantasy fare: elves and ogres, wizards and witches, dwarves and trolls. But wait—is that witch wielding a frying pan rather than a broomstick? Has that wizard just clumsily tumbled off the edge of the world? And what is with the dwarf they call Carrot, who just so happens to stand six-foot six-inches tall? Why, this is not the usual fantasy fare at all—this is Terry Pratchett's delightfully twisted Discworld!

Beloved British writer Pratchett first jump-started his career while working as a journalist for Bucks Free Press during the '60s. As luck would have it, one of his assignments was an interview with Peter Bander van Duren, a representative of a small press called Colin Smythe Limited. Pratchett took advantage of his meeting with Bander van Duren to pitch a weird story about a battle set in the pile of a frayed carpet. Bander van Duren bit, and in 1971 Pratchett's very first novel, The Carpet People, was published, setting the tone for a career characterized by wacky flights of fancy and sly humor.

Pratchett's take on fantasy fiction is quite unlike that of anyone else working in the genre. The kinds of sword-and-dragon tales popularized by fellow Brits like J.R.R. Tolkein and C. S. Lewis have traditionally been characterized by their extreme self-seriousness. However, Pratchett has retooled Middle Earth and Narnia with gleeful goofiness, using his Discworld as a means to poke fun at fantasy. As Pratchett explained to Locus Magazine, "Discworld started as an antidote to bad fantasy, because there was a big explosion of fantasy in the late '70s, an awful lot of it was highly derivative, and people weren't bringing new things to it."

In 1983, Pratchett unveiled Discworld with The Color of Magic. Since then, he has added installments to the absurdly hilarious saga at the average rate of one book per year. Influenced by moderately current affairs, he has often used the series to subtly satirize aspects of the real world; the results have inspired critics to rapturous praise. ("The most breathtaking display of comic invention since PG Wodehouse," raved The Times of London.) He occasionally ventures outside the series with standalone novels like the Johnny Maxwell Trilogy, a sci fi adventure sequence for young readers, or Good Omens, his bestselling collaboration with graphic novelist Neil Gaiman.

Sadly, in 2008 fans received the devastating news that Pratchett had been diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's. He has described his own reaction as "fairly philosophical" and says he plans to continue writing so long as he is able.

Good To Know

Pratchett's bestselling young adult novel Only You Can Save Mankind was adapted for the British stage as a critically acclaimed musical in 2004.

Discworld is not just the subject of a bestselling series of novels. It has also inspired a series of computer games in which players play the role of the hapless wizard Rincewind.

A few fun outtakes from our interview with Pratchett:

"I became a journalist at 17. A few hours later I saw my first dead body, which was somewhat…colourful. That's when I learned you can go on throwing up after you run out of things to throw up."

"The only superstition I have is that I must start a new book on the same day that I finish the last one, even if it's just a few notes in a file. I dread not having work in progress.

"I grow as many of our vegetables as I can, because my granddad was a professional gardener and it's in the blood. Grew really good chilies this year.

"I'm not really good at fun-to-know, human interest stuff. We're not ‘celebrities', whose life itself is a performance. Good or bad or ugly, we are our words. They're what people meet.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Terence David John Pratchett
    2. Hometown:
      Salisbury, Wiltshire, England
    1. Date of Birth:
      April 28, 1948
    2. Place of Birth:
      Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, England
    1. Education:
      Four honorary degrees in literature from the universities of Portsmouth, Bristol, Bath and Warwick

Read an Excerpt

Johnny and the Bomb

By Terry Pratchett
HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.
Copyright © 2008 Terry Pratchett
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780060541934

Chapter One

After the Bombs

It was nine o'clock in the evening, in Blackbury High Street.

It was dark, with occasional light from the full moon behind streamers of worn-out cloud. The wind was from the southwest and there had been another thunderstorm, which freshened the air and made the cobbles slippery.

A police sergeant moved, very slowly and sedately, along the street.

Here and there, if someone was very close, they might have seen the faintest line of light around a blacked-out window. From within came the quiet sounds of people living their lives—the muffled notes of a piano as someone practiced scales, over and over again, and the murmur and occasional burst of laughter from the radio.

Some of the shop windows had sandbags piled in front of them. A poster outside one shop urged people to Dig for Victory, as if it were some kind of turnip.

On the horizon, in the direction of Slate, the thin beams of searchlights tried to pry bombers out of the clouds.

The policeman turned the corner and walked up the next street, his boots seeming very loud in the stillness.

The beat took him up as far as the Methodist chapel, and in theory would then take him down ParadiseStreet, but it didn't do that tonight because there was no Paradise Street anymore. Not since last night.

There was a truck parked by the chapel. Light leaked out from the tarpaulin that covered the back.

He banged on it.

"You can't park that 'ere, gents," he said. "I fine you one mug of tea and we shall say no more about it, eh?"

The tarpaulin was pushed back and a soldier jumped out. There was a brief vision of the interior—a warm tent of orange light, with a few soldiers sitting around a little stove, and the air thick with cigarette smoke.

The soldier grinned.

"Give us a mug and a wad for the sergeant," he said to someone in the truck.

A tin mug of scalding black tea and a brick-thick sandwich were handed out.

"Much obliged," said the policeman, taking them. He leaned against the truck.

"How's it going, then?" he said. "Haven't heard a bang."

"It's a twenty-five-pounder," said the soldier. "Went right down through the cellar floor. You lot took a real pounding last night, eh? Want a look?"

"Is it safe?"

"Course not," said the soldier cheerfully. "That's why we're here, right? Come on." He pinched out his cigarette and put it behind his ear.

"I thought you lot'd be guarding it," said the policeman.

"It's dark, and it's been pouring," said the soldier. "Who's going to steal an unexploded bomb?"

"Yes, but . . ." The sergeant looked in the direction of the ruined street.

There was the sound of bricks sliding.

"Someone is, by the sound of it," he said.

"What? We've got warning signs up!" said the soldier. "We only knocked off for a brew-up! Oi!"

Their boots crunched on the rubble that had been strewn across the road.

"It is safe, isn't it?' said the sergeant.

"Not if someone drops a dirty great heap of bricks on it, no! Oi! You!"

The moon came out from behind the clouds. They could make out a figure at the other end of what remained of the street, near the wall of the pickle factory.

The sergeant skidded to a halt.

"Oh, no," he whispered. "It's Mrs. Tachyon."

The soldier stared at the small figure that was dragging some sort of cart through the rubble.

"Who's she?"

"Let's just take it quietly, shall we?" said the sergeant, grabbing his arm.

He shone his flashlight and set his face into a sort of mad friendly grin.

"That you, Mrs. Tachyon?" he said. "It's me, Sergeant Bourke. Bit chilly to be out at this time of night, eh? Got a nice warm cell back at the station, yes? I daresay there could be a big hot mug of cocoa for you if you just come along with me—how about that?"

"Can't she read all them warning signs? Is she mental?" said the soldier under his breath. "She's right by the house with the bomb in the cellar!"

"Yes . . . no . . . she's just different," said the sergeant. "Bit . . . touched." He raised his voice. "You just stay where you are, love, and we'll come and get you. Don't want you hurting yourself on all this junk, do we?"

"Here, has she been looting?" said the soldier. "She could get shot for that, pinching stuff from bombed-out houses!"

"No one's going to shoot Mrs. Tachyon," said the sergeant. "We know her, see? She was in the cells the other night."

"What'd she done?"

"Nothing. We let her nap in a spare cell in the station if it's a nippy night. I gave her sixpence and a pair of ole boots what belonged to me mum only yesterday. Well, look at her. She's old enough to be your granny, poor old biddy."

Mrs. Tachyon stood and watched them owlishly as they walked, very cautiously, toward her.

The soldier saw a wizened little woman wearing what looked like a party dress with layers of other clothes on top, and a woolly hat with a bobble on it. She was pushing a wire cart on wheels. It had a metal label on it.

"Tesco's," he said. "What's that?"

"Dunno where she gets half her stuff," muttered the sergeant.

The cart seemed to be full of black bags. But there were other things, which glittered in the moonlight.

"I know where she got that stuff," muttered the soldier. "That's been pinched from the pickle factory!"

"Oh, half the town was in there this morning," said the sergeant. "A few jars of gherkins won't hurt."

"Yeah, but you can't have this sort of thing. 'Ere, you! Missus! You just let me have a look at—"

He reached toward the cart.


Excerpted from Johnny and the Bomb by Terry Pratchett Copyright © 2008 by Terry Pratchett. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Sort by: Showing all of 20 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 21, 2014

    Author Terry Pratchett brings the Johnny trilogy to a fully sati

    Author Terry Pratchett brings the Johnny trilogy to a fully satisfying close with this final book. A thoughtful protagonist you can't help rooting for, quirky supporting characters, witty dialogue, and solid plotting (including time travel!) showcase Pratchett's full talent. Though often categorized as Young Adult/Children's literature, these books, increasingly as the series progresses, absolutely can be enjoyed by adult fans of Pratchett (ala the Tiffany Aching series). One reads slower as the end of the book approaches, knowing that, at least for now, this is the last of a very enjoyable series.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 24, 2012

    A response to nook reviewers

    To the top reviewer, the prophet of yonwood was written decades after this book. To the reviewer directly below, I think this book was too old for you, and probably the wrong genre.

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  • Posted March 18, 2011


    they totally copied the cover from the prophet of yonwood!

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  • Posted December 15, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    horrible book

    The story I read was Johnny and the bomb. The author of this book is Terry Pratchett. The main characters name is Johnny Maxwell. Some of the other characters in this story are Yo-less, Bigmac, and Wobbler. This book didn't speak to me at all. The reason being is because it was a confusing and strange book. Also this book was not one of my favorite. This book did however spark my curiosity the reason it did is because when a bomb explodes I didn't quite get why it did and when it did. But the author (Terry Pratchett) did tell you later in the story but I don't want to ruin it by telling you now.
    This book did not inspire me, the reason this book was not inspiring to me is because it was to confusing. I feel this book was confusing because the author would be talking about one thing, then stop talking about it. Talk about something else, then go back and talk about the first thing. That is the reason why I thought this book was confusing. Another reason why this book was not inspiring is because it was not my type of book. The reason why it was not my type of book is because I normally like sports or mystery books. The last reason why I thought this book was not inspiring is because it was a strange and weird book. The reason I thought this book was like that is because this book had a bomb in a building and didn't have it guarded good.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Excellent science fiction thriller

    In Blackbury, England twelve-year-old Johnny Maxwell and his pal Bigmac find local bag lady Mrs. Tachyon badly hurt in an alley off High Street. He quickly dials 911 to get her help, and stores her shopping cart loaded with black garbage bags in his family garage until he can return them and her cat to her. --- However, Johnny and his buddies (Yo-less, Bigmac, Wobbler, and Kirsty) make a startling discovery about Mrs. Tachyon¿s bags. If they touch a bag they go back in time to whatever era that particular bag takes them to. Johnny sees a chance to change history over four decades ago on May 21, 1941, a German air raid killed several people on High Street. He and his pals decide to go back in time to save the lives of those who died on that fatal day. However they will soon learn the paradox of altering the past when Wobbler fails to return with them so the remaining time travelers try again and again as they have all the time in the world or at least until Mrs. Tachyon claims her bags. --- The third Johnny and the gang science fiction thriller (see ONLY YOU CAN SAVE MANKIND and JOHNNY AND THE DEAD) is the best of an excellent trilogy as the hero¿s cohorts seem so much more developed. The story line uses humor and not so subtle puns to provide the risks of fooling with tachyon particles to change history as the consequence can alter the present one pants leg at a time. Although Terry Pratchett targets young adult fans with this series, fans of all ages will enjoy JOHNNY AND THE BOMB as he and his teammates learn complex lessons about getting ¿lost in the trousers of time¿. --- Harriet Klausner Harriet Klausner

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    Posted January 19, 2011

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    Posted January 27, 2012

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    Posted October 1, 2010

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