Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Johnny Nothing” as Want to Read:
Johnny Nothing
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Johnny Nothing

4.48  ·  Rating details ·  79 ratings  ·  57 reviews
WARNING: This book will seriously damage your funny bone. The poorest boy in school has just inherited £1 million. But there is a catch: If he can hold on to his cash for a whole year he will earn ten times that amount. Enter Felicity MacKenzie, the ugliest, sweatiest, vilest, cruelest, hairiest mother in the western world. When she steals her son’s money and goes on the s ...more
ebook, 159 pages
Published March 7th 2014 by Ian Probert
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Johnny Nothing, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Johnny Nothing

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.48  · 
Rating details
 ·  79 ratings  ·  57 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Johnny Nothing
Johnny Nothing is probably the perfect book for singularly imperfect boys. But it’s not all boogers and bodily fluids—there’s some wonderful language lurking behind the irreverence, such as when Johnny is compared to a “colour.” The humor is very English, convincingly teen and male, and somewhat smelly. Some readers might find it wearing after a while, like the worst of British TV imported to the States. But others, many of them unwilling readers aged from 10 to 18, will assuredly love it. There ...more
Andrew Updegrove
May 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
What is Johnny Nothing? Well,it’s a book that any child would love reading. It’s also a tale that any child not yet old enough to read would love to have their Mum or Dad read to them. And finally, it’s a book that Mum or Dad will certainly finish reading secretly on their own, for their own delight long before it’s bedtime rendition is complete.

What is Johnny Nothing about? One way of answering that would be to ask how the Harry Potter plot might have played out if Hagrid had never arrived to l
Jun 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: humor
This review is as written by my mom, Bella Conner. I agree with it entirely, but since she hasn't signed up yet to post it, I want to share her review.

JOHNNY NOTHING..... a review

If you don't think Monty Python is funny, then you won't like this book.
If you don't appreciate dramatic irony, then you won't like this book.
If you like to cheer for the evil likes of the Wicked Witch in stories like Hansel and Gretel and The Wizard of Oz, then you won't like this book.

As a matter of fact, if you like
Melissa Ann Goodwin
Mar 31, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Review of Johnny Nothing by Ian Probert

This book is hilarious! I imagine the target audience is kids (mainly boys?) between the ages of 8 and 12, but this middle-aged woman couldn’t stop laughing – or reading. You know how animated movies are supposed to be for kids, but the jokes are really for the adults? Well, it’s kind of like that. So, don’t be fooled thinking this is just a book for kids. It’s also a book for seriously warped adults.

Johnny Nothing is a 10-year old boy whose parents treat h
Liz Barnsley
Apr 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
Review by Joshua Jackson. 13 Years of Age. New recruit to the Liz Loves Books Reviewing team covering YA and Childrens Fiction.

Thank you to the author for the review copy.

The poorest boy in school has just inherited £1 million. But there is a catch: If he can hold on to his cash for a whole year he will earn ten times that amount. Enter Felicity MacKenzie, the ugliest, sweatiest, vilest, cruelest, hairiest mother in the western world. When she steals her son’s money and goes on the spending spre
Phillip Stephens
Mar 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Modern readers might compare Johnny Nothing to Lemony Snicket, but the book that came most to my mind was Laurence Sterne’s delightful and convoluted Tristram Shandy. Yes, Johnny Nothing is a kid's book and contains nothing of the complexity or depth of Stern’s prose, and yet the frequent segues and digressions, the illustrations and absolute sense of irreverence make me think Johnny Nothing is the perfect book to prepare youngsters for the labyrinths that will await them as adults.

Forget the st
Lizzy Baldwin
Jul 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing
WARNING: This book will seriously damage your funny bone.
Oh, Wow. Dark, sordid, grotesque and hilarious are only a few words I can conjure up to describe this hilariously shadowy book. It's a comedy mixed not only with gruesome descriptions and incredible beautiful illustrations, but it also has a message and a moral that could teach any of us a good lesson! I absolutely loved this book so grab a copy and settle down to read!

The main strength I found with this book is in the narrative style; wri
Jada Ryker
Apr 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Funny Children's Book

Ten-year-old Johnny Nothing attends his Uncle Marley's funeral. The unpleasant Uncle Marley had a ton of money but no friends. Johnny inherits a portion of his dead uncle's money. He can dramatically increase the amount if he still has the total amount at the end of a year.

Johnny's parents are focused on immediate gratification. They don't care about the longer term vision of pots of money. Johnny has to figure out a way to end up with the total amount in spite of his paren
Nancy Silk
May 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing
"A Story Very Cleverly Written and Hilarious"

Parents ... so different from kids. You may think you have the best parents; or, maybe you think they are the worst. Well, as you read this laugh-out-loud story, you will see just why ten year-old Johnny Nothing as the very worst parents of all. The first two chapters introduce the relatives of Johnny Nothing, and you'll see from the very creative artwork truly exhibits the type of people they are. Then the real story begins with the death of Johnny's
Angela Burkhead
Mar 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Angela by: Ian Probert
Shelves: first-reads
Johnny Nothing may be BORED at Uncle Marley's funeral, but his life is soon to be come far from BORING. Uncle Marley is dead as dead can be, but he is bringing his family to life with his quirky bequeaths and requests set forth by his solicitor Mr. Dark. Johnny Nothing had nothing, as his name clearly states. Even after Uncle Marley gave Johnny everything, he was still left with nothing. Johnny's mother is the worst mother in the world as she takes his inheritance and spends more and more of his ...more
James McCormick
Nov 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing
With shades of Roald Dahl, P.G. Wodehouse, Daniel Handler and Charles Dickens this is an extremely well written, funny and poignant morality tale easily worthy of five stars. The protagonist, the eponymous Johnny Nothing (real name Johnny MacKenzie) grows up mistreated and deprived, with parents every bit as unpleasant as Dahl’s The Twits (my eldest daughter and mine all-time favourite). Johnny’s mother Felicity is without doubt the most entertaining character in the whole story; vile, greedy, u ...more
Alan Black
Nov 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Ian Probert's JOHNNY NOTHING give us the real reason the American's fought the British for our independence. It had NOTHING to do with the stamp tax or the Boston massacre and everything to do with the British sense of humor. This tale is a gaggle of giggles and even made me laugh out loud (I refuse to use that LOL abbreviation). It is so much fun to read it is like Monty's python was squeezing Benny's hills. This was written as if it were a children's book. Don't let that fool you because it is ...more
Rosie Amber
Apr 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Johnny Nothing is written for children aged 11 upwards, but is readable as an adult. This book should appeal to young boys and girls and should do a good job in encouraging boys to continue reading.

Johnny is a dull child, bored with life, ordinary and poor, until he's left £1 million by Uncle Marley. The adults in Johnny's life can't believe his luck and there is the chance to inherit more. If Johnny can come back in 1 years time with proof of a profit, then he can get £10 million.

Johnny is give
Apr 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Johnny Nothing really has nothing, not even a mother's love. The poor boy was poor until uncle Marley left him a task and 1 million. He would have to make more from the money in the span of 1 year to inherit 10 million dollars from his dead uncle.

The narrative is funny and unique, complete with really mean looking pictures of Johnny's family members. As I read along to see how Johnny fares, I learn that sometimes, money makes people weird. In the end, Johnny taught me a good lesson, just one tha
Maggie Thom
Apr 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is an interesting read. It starts out as a narrative that really gives you a snarky view of this poor kid, Johnny Nothing and his dysfunctional family. It easily puts you in the mindset of how Johnny could grow up to be a cynical person, he definitely has the foundation for it.

Soon you get to know the characters first hand and let me tell you they are something. Felicity is that self-centered woman/mother that can't see beyond her and what she needs. I know her! Bill, well he's just that br
John Molloy
Jul 26, 2017 rated it liked it
Ridiculous enough to be entertaining, a change in this day of serious reading, but not for the person who expects some kind of literary revelation.
Michael Compton
Oct 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Some children’s books encourage kids to be brave. Some encourage kids to be creative. Some encourage kids to be caring. Ian Probert’s book Johnny Nothing encourages kids, among other things, to: sell their dad’s possessions to their schoolmates for profit, send rude messages through the mail to the Prime Minister, hire bodyguards to terrorize their parents and keep them locked up like prisoners. On the plus side, there are repeated admonitions of “Don’t smoke, kids!”—but discerning readers might ...more
P.A. Rudders
Apr 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Johnny nothing is a book that I think any child (boys mainly) in the nine to thirteen age bracket will really enjoy. It pokes lots of fun at grown-ups and all the things we take seriously and think are important, and addresses all the topics that parents might squirm in embarrassment at, but which will have children in fits of giggles and laughter. As well as great writing, there are also some great illustrations accompanying each chapter.

It's basically about a young boy from a very poor backgro
Kathy Cunningham
Apr 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Ian Probert’s JOHNNY NOTHING reminds me a bit of the 2004 film “It Could Happen to You,” as told by Roald Dahl. You remember the film – a guy wins the lottery and wants to do the right thing, but his greedy, repulsive wife just starts shopping herself to death. Well, in JOHNNY NOTHING, 10-year-old Johnny MacKenzie inherits a one-million pound cash card from his late Uncle Marley, with a chance to turn that million into ten million if he can make the money grow by the end of one year, even by one ...more
Bella Conner
Jun 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
If you don't think Monty Python is funny, then you won't like this book.
If you don't appreciate dramatic irony, then you won't like this book.
If you like to cheer for the evil likes of the Wicked Witch in stories like Hansel and Gretel and The Wizard of Oz, then you won't like this book.

As a matter of fact, if you like stealing candy from babies, embezzling from stocks to live beyond your means, and amassing a hoarder's stash of shoes, clothes, and handbags, then you must put this book down rig
Nik Morton
Nov 09, 2014 rated it really liked it
A highly amusing and original moral tale about a ten-year-old called Johnny Nothing. ‘He’s not over-clever. He’s not under-stupid.’ Author Ian Probert can certainly give Roald Dahl a run for his money with this novel.

Johnny MacKenzie has two feckless parents who seem to have emerged from all of the worst nightmares of children’s fiction: his mother, Felicity, in truth, is a marvellous invention, unsavoury and selfish, among other things, while his father, Billy is a drinker and gambler and under
Tim Roast
Apr 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
The first thing you notice about this book is the pictures at the beginning of each chapter. Each is a full colour landscape-orientated scene or portrait. They really are works of art.

I read this story with my 7-year-old daughter over several bedtimes. She always wanted more. This is because the plot is easy to get to grips with and is in itself gripping too. There is a clear villain so she was rooting for the hero of the story, Johnny Nothing. I would say that with a little bit of language, and
Nov 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
Can I just add my voice to to the others saying how grotesque and brilliant this book is. Firstly, the illustrations, strange and creepy, really bring the book to life. Not all seem to match the descriptions of the characters, but there is no doubt to the artist's skill. And they remind the adult reader that this is in fact a book for children, not for them.

Then the story, in which little Johnny Nothing is abused by his parents, wins the lottery, gets exploited by everyone around him and loses i
James Minter
Nov 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: black comedy
Shelves: reviewed
First, I must admit I’m well past being a young teenager – the intended reader - but having said that I think many adults will enjoy this book also.
Probert is a talented man as his website shows – a painter, a photographer, a clarinet player, journalist, and of course a writer. As soon as I started reading this book several influences sprang to mind: Punks, anarchic humour encapsulated in The Young Ones TV series, Roald Dahl’s book The Twits and David Walliams’s book Boy in a Dress. They sugges
Rose Maureen
Dec 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Haha l have never read a book like Johnny Nothing. and I have read a lot of books, its so funny and humorous, Johnny is a 10 years old, who lives with his so called parents that didn't even know he was around. that's why he was nickname Nothing, the kids called him that at school as well, then one day out of the blue, a letter came telling them a brother of his mum had died, it was Johnny's uncle Jake Marley and had to go to the church to hear the reading of the will and of course the Author quo ...more
John Needham
Jan 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Yes, I agree with other reviewers; this seriously-bad-for-your-ability-to-be-serious little gem might be comparable to Roald Dahl (it certainly is in terms of quality) but actually it’s like no other. Totally unique (yes, I know ‘unique’ shouldn’t have an adjective but I think it’s called for, all the same), this is a superb blend of the slapstick, the wickedly witty and outrageous but also a thoughtful essay on themes of greed, as personified by Johnny’s ghastly mum Felicity(!) on the one hand ...more
Dec 28, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition

I really enjoy reading books that entertain....and this one really filled that bill.......I have heard the story before...with different circumstances ; but pretty much the same outcome. THANK YOU for a very nice read 🐼
Wendy Unsworth
Mar 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Johnny Nothing has nothing; that is how he got his name. But that is about to change when he inherits a million pounds from old Uncle Marley.
As the story starts Uncle Marley is about to be laid to rest. All the members of his money-grabbing family have gathered to find out what they will inherit. The worst of them is Johnny's own mother and father who are terrible parents and just generally, terrible people. But Uncle Marley is quite aware of who deserves his generosity and the congregation are
Jonas Lee
Jun 19, 2014 rated it really liked it
Ian Probert's Johnny Nothing reminds me of a combination of A Christmas Carol (many Dicken's references), Charlie & the Chocolate Factory, and Brewster's Millions. It's meant as a children's book aimed for the middle school age and is equally set to entertain adults as well.

The story is about a broke, depraved boy, Johnny Nothing. He literally has nothing, no clothes or toys of his own; he barely has food and his parents have to give him just enough to survive. After his uncle passes away, he i
Jul 08, 2014 rated it really liked it
Johnny Nothing is a story for a boy who has nothing. He has no clothes, no food, no friends. That's why he gets the nickname, Johnny Nothing. But it is not true that he has nothing. He has something that many people don't have: the biggest heart in the world, a whole heart full of love. When his uncle dies, Johnny inherits one million pounds. Yes, you've heard well, one million pounds. And suddenly, he is the most popular boy in the world.

I'm not sure that this a children's book. Many adults ca
« previous 1 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Trail-Mix Readers: Johnny Nothing 3 13 Apr 10, 2015 05:53AM  
Trail-Mix Readers: March 2015 (#1) 3 15 Mar 18, 2015 04:56AM  
Trail-Mix Readers: March 2015 (#1) 4 13 Mar 14, 2015 01:46AM  
Trail-Mix Readers: March 2015 (#1) 1 7 Mar 01, 2015 09:00AM  
Ian Probert has been scribbling down words ever since he learned to spell the phrase: 'Once upon a time...'. He is the author of Internet Spy, Rope Burns and a bunch of other titles. Internet Spy was a bestseller in the US and made into a TV film. Rope Burns is a book about why books shouldn't be written about boxing. Ian has also written things for a shed load of newspapers and magazines. When Ia ...more

Related Articles

  Tami Charles is a former teacher and the author of picture books, middle grade and young adult novels, and nonfiction. As a teacher, she made...
45 likes · 65 comments
No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »