Author Spotlight-Ian Probert

Let’s say, theoretically, Charlie Bucket had mean, evil , greedy, neglectful parents instead of the kindhearted, caring parents and grandparents he had in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. If so, you would in fact have Johnny Nothing, the protagonist of Probert’s children’s novel by the same name.

Johnny Nothing children’s novel that whose target audience is middle-schoolers (in the same category as Maniac McGee and There’s a Boy in the Girls’ Bathroom).It seems to be a perfect hybrid of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. In fact, Johnny is the nephew of Jacob Marley (he of the chains and Christmas-eve haunting) who, upon his death, inherited a vast fortune. Johnny’s must figure out a way to keep his greedy, spiteful mother from spending all of the money, for if he is able to maintain a balance of even a little over the original, he will inherit ten times that amount.

Probert’s style (clearly aimed for kids age 8-14) is absolutely, floor-rolling hilarious. It is a stand-up comedy routine in a book. Probert used exaggerated humor to both entertain and to teach moral lessons about appreciation, treating others with respect, and generosity to those who are less fortunate. If I were on a school board, I would put this on the required reading list for middle school. Johnny Nothing falls in the caliber of quality writing comparable to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Stuart Little, and other children’s classics. Parents, please purchase this for your middle-schooler, and while you’re at it, give it a read yourself.

To purchase Johnny Nothing:

In the US:

In the UK:


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