Henry Potty in the News
Hairy Robber and the Stolen Titles
Four parodies of pop-fiction books
By MELISSA ADELL, Vox Magazine
February 01, 2007
Perhaps they couldn’t think of anything better to write, or maybe the authors of these spoofs are bullies who can’t stop picking on the smart kids on the playground. Regardless of why, spoofing best-selling fiction titles is a popular and lucrative gig. Get a taste of some witty copycats and originals.
Best-seller: “The Harry Potter Series” by J.K. Rowling
Five-second synopsis: This coming-of-age fantasy series follows Harry Potter and his friends through their adventures at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
Takeoff title: Henry Potty and the Pet Rock: An Unauthorized Harry Potter Parody by Valerie Estelle Frankel
Satirical setup: Across the pond from Hogwarts, in the not-so-mystical state of California, Henry Potty competes in “America’s Funniest Fairygodchildren” at Chickenfeet Academy. The 112-page paperback centers on Henry’s plot to kill Lord Revolting, a mean goldfish murderer who wants to conquer the world. To achieve his goal, Lord Revolting must steal a pet rock that belongs to Henry’s friend Realy Wimpy – not to be confused with Harry’s friend Ron Weasley.
Why it’s funny: Reading this outlandish story is like reading “The Harry Potter Series” through warped glasses, which makes the plot and character names such as Professor Snort and Headmaster Bumbling Bore absurd and silly.
Don’t read it: If you are more excited for the July 2007 expected release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows than you are for your own birthday, if you sometimes wake up in a cold sweat thinking about Severus Snape, or if you have a custom-made Harry Potter cape, complete with a wand.
Following up on my last post about the Moaning Myrtles’ Toilet Humor’ album, one thing that struck me about the Potter fans at Portus is how much fun most of them were having. I ran into one woman whose costume stood out for having a not-quite Potter-like pink pig with wings on her head, setting off her shirt that said “Hairy Otter.” It turns out that Valerie Frankel, 27, of San Jose, California was at the convention selling her hot-off-the-Wingspan Press Potter parody, Henry Potty and the Deathly Paper Shortage (‘Henry’s’ concern evidently is that he is not getting enough fan mail). This send-up of the seventh book is a follow-up to her first and only other Potter parody, Henry Potty and the Pet Rock, which won an Indie Excellence Award, a Phelan Award for Humor and was named a USA Book News National Best Book. You can find out more about it here, onwww.HarryPotterParody.com.
Thursday, November 9, 2006 Serving San Jose State University Since 1934
Author casts satirical spell on popular children’s book series
By Tyanne Roberts
Date: 10/26/06 Section: News
The well-known children’s series “Harry Potter” has a new face, a new pet and a new name. Valerie Frankel, a San Jose State University lecturer, is the author of “Henry Potty and the Pet Rock: An Unauthorized Harry Potter Parody.”
“I thought that the original Harry Potter series was good but a little too dramatic,” Frankel said. “I wanted to be able to write a book that I could have fun with.”
On Tuesday, Frankel had a reading of her book for an audience in the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Library.
The book “Henry Potty and the Pet Rock” is Frankel’s fourth completed novel out of nine, and a book that only took her four months to write.
“I started writing the book when I was in England, which didn’t go well with my English roommates when I told them that I was writing a parody on their beloved ‘Harry Potter’ book,” Frankel said.
The cover of Frankel’s book states that it is for ages 2 to 222, and just like the novel, which is geared to people of all ages, the reading held at the King Library was for people of all ages.
“I liked the comical aspects of the book and the characters that were introduced during the reading,” said Amy Yu, a senior majoring in accounting.
The characters that were presented in Frankel’s book had names influenced from a series of characters that are already well known today.
“I have characters related to ‘The Simpsons,’ ‘Sesame Street,’ ‘Narnia’ and ‘Harry Potter,’ ” Frankel said.
At the reading, Frankel read some of her favorite sections out of the book, letting the audience get a feel for the characters and the storyline.
Frankel’s book and some of the characters who were introduced were turned completely around when compared to the original “Harry Potter” series. In the original “Harry Potter” books, mail is usually delivered by owls. In Frankel’s book, it is delivered by flying pigs.
“I like ‘Harry Potter,’ so I thought this would be a good book, because it’s different,” Yu said.
Not only does her story contain funny character names, unexpected events and comedy relief, but her story also has a few unintentional tongue twisters.
“Her version of the story contains more comedy, it is light hearted and just has a different style,” said Webster Lincoln, a sophomore majoring in psychology.
According to information about the author in the book, Frankel became the youngest person ever to receive a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from SJSU.
Frankel, who teaches composition writing at SJSU, said, “I just write what I enjoy and try to find ways to have fun with the characters.”
Though many of the audience members were students in her class, there were also kids that were much younger that attended.
“I did attend because it was for a class, but after hearing the reading, the book sounds interesting,” Lincoln said.
Frankel is still not sure if she will write a follow up in keeping with the original “Harry Potter” series.
Tuesday, May 12, 2009 Serving San Jose State University Since 1934
Harry Potter parody targets franchise, 8-year-olds
By: Brett Gifford
Summer is just around the corner, and for Harry Potter fans, it means a new installment of the popular book franchise’s movie series.
On Thursday, about 30 students were treated to an alternative to the “Potterverse” in a reading by the author of “Henry Potty and the Deathly Paper Shortage: An Unauthorized Harry Potter Parody,” at the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Library.
SJSU alumna and English lecturer Valerie Estelle Frankel said she wrote the book as the sequel to “Henry Potty and the Pet Rock,” book one of her Harry Potter parody series. The latest volume is book seven. Like J.K. Rowling, Frankel’s series is seven books long – only she said she decided to skip the five books between the first and the seventh.
Cindy Nguyen, a senior electrical engineering major, said she wasn’t really a fan of the Harry Potter series, but she bought two copies of “Henry Potty” to share with her sons.
“Usually I just see the movies, but this is really new,” she said. “I’m glad to see more.”
The plot follows Henry Potty, with the aid of the disembodied spirit of Professor Bumbling Bore, and his quest to gather the seven Plot Devices of Lord Revolting’s soul.
Frankel came up with parody names for several of the characters, places and events depicted in the Harry Potter series, such as Henry’s friends, Horrendous Gangrene and Really Wimpy.
“I just looked at it and said, ‘How can I tweak this?'” Frankel said. “It took me a while to really accept that I was going to be that silly and have humor for 8-year-olds in the title, but I did. Many 8-year-olds giggle at just the title.”
Frankel read a lengthy note from the beginning of the book about who might be offended by the parody, warning that everybody in the room may be offended.
However, she maintains that unlike other Potter parodies, her Harry Potter parody is intended for 8-year-olds.
“To my surprise, all the others were dirty, even though they’re messing with a children’s book,” Frankel said. “And I was kind of looking at it, going, ‘Who’s going to be the number one audience of a book making fun of Harry Potter?’ You’ve got to assume it’s going to be children … So, maybe we should make something that’s actually clean.”
Frankel said it was difficult to get published at first because most publishing companies were afraid of being sued.
However, no legal actions have been taken against her, she said.
Adrianna Aguilar, a sophomore aerospace engineering major, bought a copy of “Henry Potty” at the reading.
“I actually got it for my cousin, because he’s really into all the Harry Potter books, so I thought he might get a twist out of one being funny,” Aguilar said.
Cindy Yu, a junior, giggled when she recalled Frankel’s description of gay Professor Bumbling Bore, a reference to Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling’s announcement at the end of the series that the character Professor Dumbledore was gay.
Yu said she purchased two copies of Frankel’s parody for her younger cousins.
Barry Trotter, Henry Potty and Tanya Grotter: Harry Potter Parodies in Print Written Around the World
Associated Content, July 14, 2007 by
These Book and Internet Parodies of Harry Potter Have Somehow (mostly) Avoided Lawsuits
Parody has always been protected under copyright law–even though there are inroads to litigation if one of those parodies becomes a bit libelous. That obviously only applies to depicting real people…but Harry Potter has become so ingrained in the worldwide consciousness now–it makes anything that parodies the stories of the world’s favorite wizard-in-training a bit suspect in what the intentions are. Many, many parodies of Harry Potter have been done on TV shows of various kinds–with the most notable American ones being on “The Simpsons” and “Saturday Night Live.” Add to that hilarious sketches on British and Australian TV or on various sites around the internet. A lot of people, however, probably don’t know that numerous books have been published around the world that (in some cases) viciously parody the plot elements of all of the real books. Most of them have received a watchful eye from J.K. Rowling and her legal team. So far, though, many of them haven’t been forced to cease and desist. And some of them have become bestsellers.
Well, it doesn’t just stop with the Barry Trotter series. Lots of other authors (mostly American) have attempted to cash in on the Harry Potter book parody craze. Another American parodist, Valerie Estelle Frankel wrote a book called “Henry Potty and the Pet Rock (an Unauthorized Harry Potter Parody)” that was published in August of 2006. This one has the usual Mad Magazine name changes to the characters, but really designed for children this time (or ages 2-222 as the book says on its cover). Many consider it the funniest book parody of Harry Potter out there too. Here, the parodies on Ron and Hermione are named Really Wimpy and Horendous Gangrene who attend Chickenfeet Academy with Henry Potty. The other principals are Bumbling Bore who goes around wearing hot pink surfer shorts as well as other clothing associated with a person in retirement living on a beach in a warm climate. Lord Revolting is the nemesis who does one uproarious thing in the book that’s astute to an ongoing problem in the real Harry Potter books: He loves giving spoilers and ruining plot points throughout the story.
What’s different about this one is that it also uses the metanarrative technique as the Barry Trotter series does. In this case, the characters have the knowledge that they’re living out their actions in a book. Lord Revolting consistently spoils cliffhanging plot elements throughout as mentioned above. The author herself ends up walking in on the action…while being a bit angry about having to do it.
Another interesting aspect to the book is that Frankel incorporates other classic children’s book plots into the mix. That creates a parody within a parody with parodies of the Harry Potter characters parodying elements of “The Wizard of Oz”, “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” and numerous other usual literary suspects that are vulnerable to this treatment. Frankel basically has wide references to all kinds of pop culture in the book–also going after TV shows and other media institutions. She also creates original characters in the story to make this come close to being something other than straight parody. One example of those original characters: The Wicked Witch of the Vest…who enjoys making people’s minds turn to mush.
In April 2007, Frankel posted on Amazon.com’s message board for the page selling her book. In her message there, she claimed to list “upcoming” sequels in the Henry Potty series. Nobody knows if she was being serious or not, but you can read her message, titles and plot synopses here. Supposedly, some of the upcoming titles are “Henry Potty and the Chamberpot of Secrets”, “Henry Potty and the Man in the Iron Pants”, and (hold on to your sorting hats) “Henry Potty and the Cauldron of Hormones.”
Henry Potty and the Deathly Paper Shortage.
by Bethany, Susan
Reviewer’s Bookwatch • Nov, 2008 •
Henry Potty and the Deathly Paper Shortage
Valerie Estelle Frankel
c/o Publicity House
1088 Colton Ave., Sunnyvale, CA 94089
With success, come imitators, and that’s not always a bad thing with respect to popular literature. “Henry Potty and the Deathly Paper Shortage: An Unauthorized Harry Potter Parody” chooses to parody more than the single successful young adult series. Attacking many fantasy stables and cliches ranging from ‘Lord of the Rings’ to the ‘Wizard of Oz’ to classic Walt Disney films, and so much more, “Henry Potty and the Deathly Paper Shortage” is riotously entertaining reading for fantasy enthusiasts in general, and young Henry Potter fans in general.
A Muggle Farewell
How did such a Muggle world as ours take so overwhelmingly to this magical boy? Did Harry Potter and the attendant train of characters quench a thirst in us for the kind of thrill we almost certainly will not experience? And now that t he series of books about the teenage boy wizard’s life is coming to an end, with the seventh and final novel to release on July 21, the air of anticipation is suffused with various emotions depending on your position/stake in the phenomenon created by J. K. Rowling and her publishers.
One would think a swan song of this stature would sell itself, given the unparalleled success its predecessors have had in earlier years. But no, all those concerned are leaving no stone unturned, also perhaps to make sure they leave their mark on what is one of the most extraordinary sagas in world publishing history.
As in previous years, bookstores and online sellers are offering discounts and incentives on the purchase of the book, more so on pre-booking; planning big events to kick off a week before launch day – the stakes are higher because the world is preparing to bid goodbye.
Thomas Abraham, CEO and President, Penguin India, which is distributing the Harry Potter series in the country, says, “We’d be very surprised if we didn’t top 230,000 in sales for the first week.” The first three books were successful but in a routine sort of way, he says, adding that it’s from Goblet of Fire that the series really took off. That book did about 30,000 copies in 2000. Book 5 did about 60,000, and the last one did about 160,000 copies.
“True, the book should be able to sell itself, on one level. But remember the old adage, however successful a brand, one has to keep promoting it. Having said that, Potter is again a fairly unique phenomenon. Most of the hype is self-generating,” Abraham says. And “the quantity is doubling with the hype,” says M. Raju, Store Manager at Chennai’s Oxford Book Store.
A pricey affair at Rs 975, the sweeteners are the discounts some booksellers are offering. If some aren’t, well, they’ve got something else in store for you. Oxford Book Store is offering 17.5 per cent off on the book if you pre-order and pay Rs 300 in advance. Landmark is not offering a discount but has some exclusive gifts up its sleeve. Crossword is giving out a gift voucher of Rs 200 and membership of its store loyalty programme on pre-booking.
Pre-bookings aren’t really necessary, copies will continue to be available, but for a book of this magnitude, it’s always better to be certain – that’s the sentiment ruling readers’ hearts as they rush to book their copies. “This time, pre-booking is much higher. It’s not all marketing; you can’t have this kind of response if the quality wasn’t good,” says Aniyan Nair, Head (Operations & Marketing) of Crossword.
These stores are not stopping with discounts/freebies. Apart from special offers on the entire Harry Potter series, they have in-store excitement planned as well. Oxford’s ’Pottermania’ will kick off a week before the launch and will offer incentives on the set of Harry Potter books.
Landmark is planning a surprise but what it will reveal is that it’s doing up its stores with witches, broomsticks, owls and other Harry Potter paraphernalia to set the mood. All of them, of course, plan to build castles in their stores a la Hogwarts and will open at the crack of dawn to service the long queues outside.
“The Harry Potter books gave a fillip to the reading habit among children, and people discovered fantasy old and new,” says Hemu Ramaiah, CEO, Landmark. They revived interest in several authors such as C. S. Lewis (The Chroni cles of Narnia), J. R. R. Tolkien (The Lord of the Rings) and Eva Ibbotson (The Secret of Platform 13 and others), and made the genre popular. Since Potter, there have been several fantasy and teen heroes and heroines: Artemis Fowl, Eragon, Alfred Kropp, Young Bond, Percy Jackson, Lemony Snicket and Lyra of Dark Materials (the first novel in the series was actually published in 1995, before Harry Potter) – they may not have the same readership as Potter, but have a dedicated following.
The book’s arrival also coincided with a period in time when people were able to afford them and when parents were getting keener on their children developing the reading habit, she says.
Just why is Potter so popular? Says brand expert Harish Bijoor, “Harry allows us to escape where we want to be. This is a brand that seeps into our psyche and helps bridge the explored with the unexplored. We as human beings want this. The brand formula is, therefore, perfect.
“Added to this, the brand’s marketing is seamless and transitions media to great advantage. The editorial dissemination of the brand is big as well. All this helps build the cult of Harry Potter and the brand becomes one that monetises value.”
Penguin’s Abraham does not see a formula in Potter’s success. “There would have been a lot more similar successes otherwise. But yes, the storytelling, the characters, the emotional connect it builds up, the effortless writing, the universe it creates and exists in all go a long way,” says Abraham. “Worldwide, Harry Potter has an amazing impact. In India too, this can be seen, albeit on a lesser scale. There’s huge excitement, a sluggish summer market seems rejuvenated and most importantly it’s good for everybody’s turnover. On the flip side there’s the absolutely unnecessary discounting (again a worldwide phenomenon) that eats into margins,” he adds.
However, the discounting spree this time across stores real and virtual has turned this into a volumes game. “It’s the best-selling consumer product and it’s being discounted,” says Landmark’s Ramaiah with a laugh.
For Penguin, the children’s segment brings in 15 per cent of its turnover. Piracy is a big concern, most so when a new Harry Potter is releasing.
There will be some strong anti-piracy initiatives on, says Abraham. “A lot of Potter readers don’t buy them,” says Ramaiah, explaining that the story may not be correct or printed right. The books have also come to be regarded as collectibles.
The series has thrown up several parodies, such as the Barry Trotter series, Harry Putter, Henry Potty and Parry Hotter, but these come up and evoke interest soon after a Potter book is released and lie low till the next one. They don’t really have a lasting impact, says Ramaiah.
The movies, of course, rendered Harry and his world of wizardry much closer and clearer to the Muggles and have topped $3 billion in revenue as box-office block busters.
As with the books, each movie has generated more interest than the previous one and more and more pockets in India have come to be aware of Potter, says Sanjay Narayanan, Marketing Manager, Warner Bros India. This year, the release of Ha rry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is just 10 days ahead of the release of the final book, and that is seen as complimenting the book release, though Narayanan says he cannot comment on whether the timing was deliberate. Harry Potter is among the top three movie franchises in terms of revenue and each sequel has been one of the biggest movies in the year that it was released, he adds. Warner Bros is also releasing a set of the movies on DVD and games for PC and PlayStation II, he informs.
Will Harry live? Who will die? Rowling has set off a frenzy of guessing by revealing that at least two characters will die in this final book but for those in publishing and book selling, where budgets are made based on Harry Potter, the big question is What Next?
“Publishing is an inexact science in terms of predicting bestsellers. But everybody hopes that they’ll have the next Rowling or Dan Brown. And it’s hoped that the Potter effect will have left its mark in at least widening the readership base and in rekindling the reading habit. But if not, life will go on as before,” says Abraham. But one thing is for sure – achieving a similar level of success will be a hard act to follow.
|Frankel, Valerie Estelle : Henry Potty and the Deathly Paper Shortage
(WingSpan Press 978-1-59594-241-8, $12.95, 169pp, trade paperback, July 2008, cover art Anica Moss)”Unauthorized” parody of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter young adult fantasy series. It follows the earlier Frankel title Henry Potty and the Pet Rock.
• The series website describes this as “Book 7 in the Henry Potty Series” with a link to explain why there were no books 2 through 6; there’s also a PDF excerpt.
• Amazon has reader reviews.
Harry Potter Parody Receives Top Honor From National Indie Excellence 2008 Book Awards.
Henry Potty and the Pet Rock: An Unauthorized Harry Potter Parody (ISBN: 978-1-59594-088-9, WingSpan Press) recently won the Indie Excellence 2008 Book Award and USA Book News National Best Books. The long-expected sequel will arrive in July 2008.
Henry Potty and the Pet Rock
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
PRLog (Press Release) – May 19, 2008 – SUNNYVALE—Publicity House is proud to announce that their title was awarded the Indie Excellence 2008 Book Award, which honors outstanding books by independent publishers across the nation.
Henry Potty and the Pet Rock: An Unauthorized Harry Potter Parody (ISBN: 978-1-59594-088-9, WingSpan Press) by Valerie Estelle Frankel won as best “eBook Fiction.” The paperback version of the novel has also won many awards, most recently in USA Book News National Best Books 2007.
The plot is a witty, absurd send-up for both children and adults: Catastrophe strikes Chickenfeet Academy, and it’s not just the cafeteria food. Lord Revolting, murderous goldfish-flusher, needs Really Wimpy’s pet rock to conquer the world! While battling him with squirt guns and cheesy how-to guides, Henry Potty aces Hobology, preps for America’s Funniest Fairygodchildren, and tries to avoid laundering Professor Snort’s dreaded hankies, or worse, watching A History of Cabbages in Polish. All the while, the least likely character watches, coveting the pet rock for her own sneaky agenda. What part does Socks the parrot, wisecracking pet of Headmaster Bumbling Bore, play in all this? Will Revolting dare the ultimate villainy and spoil the book? Will this novel waste an entire morning? There’s only one way to know…
“I’m so excited,” said author Valerie Estelle Frankel. “I had finally sent the sequel to the publisher only two days before, so this was a really overwhelming moment. I’m so glad I’ll be at Book Expo America for the presentation.” This sequel, Henry Potty and the Deathly Paper Shortage, will arrive in bookstores everywhere July 2008.
Valerie Frankel was the youngest person ever to receive a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from San Jose State University, where she currently teaches Composition. Her many short stories have appeared in over seventy magazines and anthologies. More information about her is available at http://www.HarryPotterParody.com
“A spoof like no other I’ve ever seen in literature: you will chuckle and laugh until your belly hurts.”
“Like reading The Harry Potter Series through warped glasses” –Vox Magazine
“I haven’t laughed out loud so much since reading Bored of the Rings.” –Reader’s Robot
“Children of all ages (including adults) will enjoy this hilarious parody!” Kathy Boswell, President, Reviewers International Organization (RIO)
For an interview, please email publicist@HarryPotterParody.com.
More about Valerie Estelle Frankel and the Henry Potty Series can be found at http://www.HarryPotterParody.com
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Fri, 27 Oct 2006 08:00:00 EST
A San Jose State University lecturer read from her new book, Henry Potty and the Pet Rock: An Unauthorized Harry Potter Parody, Tuesday. The parody takes new spins on familiar themes from J. K. Rowling’s popular series. Mail, for instance, is delivered not by owls but flying pigs. Students who attended the reading told the Spartan Daily they found it enjoyable. Then they revealed that Valerie Frankel, the author and their composition teacher, had required their attendance. “I did attend it because it was for a class,” one diplomatic student put it, “but after hearing the reading, the book sounds interesting.”