Henry Potty and the Pet Rock: An Unauthorized Harry Potter Parody is a satire of Harry Potter along with most of children’s literature. The author, Valerie Estelle Frankel, lives in California, where the book takes place. The first edition was published in August 2006 by WingSpan Press. ISBN 1-59594-088-X.
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.
The narrative features the adventures of Henry Potty, Really Wimpy, and Horrendous Gangrene who attend Chickenfeet Academy. It features strong postmodern meta-narrative, as the characters know they’re in a book, which Lord Revolting keeps trying to spoil. The book’s narrator and even an appearance by the angry author likewise break the fourth wall.
Unlike Barry Trotter, Bored of the Rings, and other popular satires, Henry Potty is completely appropriate for children. Frankel constantly puns on other works of children’s fiction (“Next time try to miss, Piggy”), revealing her knowledge of children’s culture, along with her subtly stinging tribute to the Harry Potter Series. Frankel parodies all aspects of the Harry Potter books, including the misleading clues and unexpected culprits. Many characters from the insignificant Tollgate guard (who manufactures his own brand of toothpaste) to Lord Revolting himself claim credit for the evil doings in the book, though the real perpetrator is far more scheming. Henry Potty’s over popularity and the panic about spoilers also appear: Lord Revolting repeatedly commits the most heinous crime he can imagine: spoiling the book.
The parody begins with a list of disclaimers and warnings, including the following:
“The characters in this story are trained professionals. They have a great deal of experience at flying on vacuum cleaners, creating hot dogs by magical means, or scheming to achieve eternal life and total world domination. Please, do not try these things at home.”
The author continues on to mention the British English/American English/English English inconsistencies, parodying this Philosopher’s Stone/ Sorcerer’s Stone issues that have followed the Harry Potter series from the beginning.
“Henry Potty is a witty, absurd send-up with a charm all its own. Frankel doesn’t so much break the fourth wall as she obliterates it with Unforgivable Curses.”–Seized by the Tale
“The humor is of the random, silly, puns and funny coincidences kind. It’s an easy afternoon’s read, enjoyable and quirky, poking light-hearted fun at the “Harry Potter” series. If you’re in the mood for a silly parody it’ll be perfect, and even if you aren’t it’ll still be fun. The writing is solid and enjoyable, the characters have color and personality, and the Chickenfeet Academy certainly comes alive with detail!
“In short, I’m glad I read it. Even though it isn’t my normal fare it was a fun read, and I think many folks would get a real kick out of it. Ms. Frankel’s talent for funny, tight writing certainly shines through!” –Burning Void Reviews
“This parody had me laughing at the most unexpected places and things! Valerie Estelle Frankel takes Henry Potty through all sorts of wild and crazy adventures (if you can call it that) and his friends are right in there with him…Children of all ages (including adults) will enjoy this hilarious parody!” –The Best Reviews. Kathy Boswell, President of Reviewers International Organization
“Original, inventive characters and storyline make the book fun to read. A real winner!” –Building Rainbows
Any resemblance to a certain wildly successful fantasy novel is purely the author’s intention…I haven’t laughed out loud so much since reading Bored of the Rings. –Reader’s Robot