Born for Brilliant Books

Kath Saunders, Independent Usborne Organiser

Compton Valance — The Most Powerful Boy in the Universe

Compton Valance — The Most Powerful Boy in the Universe

Compton Valance: Book 1
Compton Valance — The Most Powerful Boy in the Universe

  • eBook edition has disgusting sound effects (on tablets that support audio).

When Compton Valance and his best friend Bryan Nylon discover the world's first TIME MACHINE (aka a mouldy, thirteen-week-old, cheese-and-pickled-egg sandwich), they become the most powerful boys in the Universe.

But how will Compton and Bryan decide to use their incredible new time-travelling powers? Will they use them for good? Will they use them for evil? Or will they just focus their efforts on perfecting a formula for the world's first pair of custard trousers?

Things are about to get totally scrambled for Compton Valance.


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Extra information

Key Stage: KS2 E; Age 8+

Lexile Measure: 950L

BIC: D3N79

ISBN: 9781409567776
272 pages
198 x 130mm

Illustrator: Lizzie Finlay

Matt Brown

Matt Brown is a broadcaster, husband and dad (although not necessarily in that order!) As a TV presenter he appeared on kids’ channel Nickelodeon and hosted loads of shows including The Bigger Breakfast, Love Island Aftersun and “I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here…Now!”. He is currently the host of a Heart Breakfast radio show.

Visit to find out more.

Matt Brown

Free chapter


The Beginning*

Sometimes just when you think you’ve seen it all, life has a funny way of pulling down your trousers and popping ice cubes in your pants.

Compton Valance had lived in the same sleepy village, Little Hadron, since the day he was born. In fact, Compton had been born in the same house that his father had been born in. Actually, come to think of it, for as long as anyone in Little Hadron could remember, a member of the Valance family had eaten eggs at Morlock Cottage.

So, as you can imagine, it came as something of a surprise to Compton when he found himself in the kitchen of his own house having strawberry jam smashed into his face by a small baby. And, if you can imagine the amount of surprise caused by a jam-smearing baby, just picture the look on Compton’s face when he realized that the baby was actually his own father. But that is all in the future, well the past actually, but we’ll get to it eventually. Confused? Me too but in a good way, right? Okay, I tell you what, let’s start at the proper beginning.

* WARNING! NOT ACTUALLY THE BEGINNING. REPEAT THIS IS NOT ACTUALLY THE BEGINNING! Well, it’s the beginning of the book but not really the beginning of the story. I’d say more like a bit near the middle. Look, I’ll be honest, it’s a bit complicated but hey, that’s what you get when you deal with time travel, right? My advice is just strap yourself down and enjoy the ride.

A Stink That Stunk Stinkier Than The Stinkiest Stink Had Ever Stunk

“Mr Valance? Oh, Mr Val-ance?


Compton snapped his attention round from the window that he had been gazing out of and back to his teacher at the front of the classroom. I say “teacher”, although the phrase “grumpy, flappy fish-face” would perhaps better describe the hideous vision that was yelling Compton’s name at that moment.

“I do hope we weren’t disturbing you,” sneered Mr Strickland. Compton didn’t believe that for a second. It was widely known by pupils and teachers at St Geoffrey’s Junior School that Strictly Strickland was only truly happy when
he was shouting at some poor, quivering child.* (This * means look below.)

* “Strictly” wasn’t Mr Strickland’s real first name, by the way – it was his nickname on account of his absolute and complete hatred for children and because “Strict” and “Strick” sounded so similar. And everyone felt it suited him much better than Bernard.

“Now that I have your attention, Mr Valance,” Strictly boomed. “Will you please tell me the answer to the question I just asked?”

Compton quickly thought back to the last thing he could remember. He recalled being very tired because:

1.         He’d eaten three slices of toast for breakfast and accidentally polished off his packed lunch on the school bus.

2.         Mr Strickland’s voice was even more boring than sitting in an empty room with a copy of Osmund Hocklethwaite’s book Oh Darn It! 101 Ways To Increase The Lifespan Of Your Socks.*

* This book was so dull that three people fell into a coma after reading the introduction.

Compton thought hard. He knew that the lesson was definitely about water and what happens when you freeze it. Or maybe it was definitely about gas and what happens when you set fire to it. Or perhaps it was definitely about something else entirely. It was as he was pondering this that Compton remembered getting distracted by something peculiar outside. From the classroom window, Compton had seen a strange man reading a newspaper in the park across the road from the school. Ordinarily a man reading a newspaper in a park wouldn’t have struck Compton as odd, but this man was wearing a tight silver suit and a bowler hat that was at least three sizes too small.

As if that wasn’t peculiar enough, every few minutes he would put the newspaper down and stare at Compton’s school through a miniature telescope. And as if that wasn’t weird enough, Compton felt certain that he had seen the man somewhere before.

“I’m waiting for the answer,” said Strickland so fiercely that each word caused his wonky left eye to flip around wildly.

Compton suddenly felt very, very dizzy. His mouth was dry, the bottoms of his feet were going all prickly and he knew that the whole class was looking at him. He looked at Bryan Nylon, his best friend. Bryan was mouthing the answer to him.

“Er, hair?” said Compton.

Margo Lugg sniggered in the corner and Bryan rolled his eyes. Strickland pushed his desk back and swung out his long, bony legs. Slowly, slowly, ever so slowly, he stood up and extended himself to his full operating height, which must have been about six foot eight or ten foot three or something. When he had finished, and with his shiny, sweaty, baldy head nearly touching the ceiling, he put his hands on his hips and took a long, deep sniff.

“So, Mr Compton Valance,” he said, “you think that hair is something that is essential to life.”

“Air,” whispered Bryan to Compton. “I said AIR.”

“Ms Lugg, can you inform Mr Valance of the things essential to life?”

“The three essential ingredients for life,” said Margo with a horrible smile plastered on her face, “are water, air and an energy source like the sun.”

This was typical. Margo Lugg was always waiting for an opportunity to make Compton look silly, stupid, forgetful or crazy (and sometimes all four at the same time). It was Margo who had spread the rumour that Compton had recently been off school because he was taking part in a television show called Boys Who Look Like Chickens. In fact, Compton had been off school because he had eaten something that had violently disagreed with him and had been sick out of his nose. But Margo Lugg wasn’t interested in the truth and spread her lies all the same. Not a day went by without someone laughing at Compton and saying “Oh, there goes Compton the Chicken Boy” or “Hey, Mr Green Pants”.

Compton’s nickname was Mr Green Pants because Margo Lugg said that she had seen Compton’s pants and they were green because that was where he kept his bogeys. Needless to say, Compton didn’t keep his bogeys in his pants. No, he had other much better hiding places for those.

 Strickland prowled towards Compton’s desk like a hungry tiger.

“If there is one thing that I find utterly revolting,” he said, licking his cracked, dry lips, “it is a child in my classroom who doesn’t listen.”* (Remember what this means? Look below now...) * For the record, Strictly Strickland also found Earl Grey tea, swimming trunks, snow, hats, snow-hats, the letter G, knock-knock jokes, Christmas crackers
and people called Valerie utterly revolting too.

Strickland had reached Compton’s desk and was looming over him. Compton could tell he was about to receive a telling-off the like of which had never been seen before. Strickland took another long deep sniff.

“Urgh!”he said suddenly, waving his hand in front of his nose like it was on fire. “What on earth is that disgusting smell?”

Strickland sniffed again. The enormous nostrils in his extra-long nose twitched and quivered as they hunted for the source of the foul odour. He bent down underneath the desk and picked up Compton’s school bag. Using his fully extended fingers like tweezers, Strictly Strickland slowly unzipped Compton’s bag and stuck his nose all the way in. He took a huge sniff deep within the bag, which, as it turned out, was not the best course of action – as one second later he fell backwards and fainted clean away, smashing onto the classroom floor.


Longlisted - Reading Rampage 2015 (Leicester’s new secondary school book award)

Winner - Lovereading4kids Books of the Year

Shortlisted - Oxfordshire Book Awards (PrimaryCategory)

Shortlisted - Coventry Inspiration Book Awards

Press reviews

For those who might enjoy being grossed out whilst considering the implications of time travel, it’s genius. It’s great to read a book with a story which will engage more gifted readers, but that also acknowledges they might actually still want to read about yucky stuff.
Young fans of Captain Underpants and Diary of a Wimpy Kid will be drawn to the time travelling antics of this new, unlikely superhero... Each page is bursting with cartoons, captions, doodles and ingenious caligrams... Every single page is lavishly littered with toilet humour that younger fans will adore.
Books for Keeps
Large print and plenty of illustrations make it fun for newly developing or reluctant readers and everyone else as well.
Primary Times
With clever jokes, disgusting food and comedic stereotypes, the plot twists, turns and fizzes through time and back again. Perfect.
Suffolk Libraries Online
Told at a speed to match the time-travel theme of the story, this is a highly entertaining and wittily illustrated adventure which pays a lot of attention to food! Dreamy Compton Valance’s world is turned upside down when he comes across a very old sandwich which has some very unusual powers. Soon Compton Valance and his best-friend Bryan Nylon find they have the amazing power to travel through time. It’s a fun and frightening experience and the two boys have a lot of laughs on their unusual travels.
Julia Eccleshare
A book bulging with lively illustrations, a mixed bag of quirky narrative styles, hilarious bullet points, laugh-out-loud jokes and funny, clever plots and twists. This is a story just asking to be read… again and again and again.
Lancashire Evening Post
Funny, clever, brilliant - I love this book. Buy it immediately!
Dermot O'Leary
This amazingly hilarious book is the best book I have read since Diary of a Wimpy Kid.
Dom, aged 10

Reader reviews

Amazing book
This book is amazing. I would recommend it if you like gross stories.

Fred , Aged 11, 25th May 2017
Funniest book ever
This might just be the funniest book ever written.

Molly, aged 9, 3rd June 2014
I really enjoyed getting the chance to read this amazing book
I was glad that Matt added humour to the book because it made me laugh a lot, especially where it says: Compton has green pants and it looks like he keeps his bogies there. The story is absolutely great and I loved the extra information which was in bullet points at the bottom of the page.

Lucy, aged 11, 24th February 2014
Awesomely crazy!
I loved Compton and Bryan's idea of custard trousers!

Alfie, aged 10, 6th February 2014
I would recommend to all my friends
As a girl it's quite disgusting, but overall it's a really good read. I would recommend to all my friends.

Megan, aged 8, 6th February 2014
Extremely funny
I thought it was extremely funny that a custard cream could kill the most powerful giants ever.

Michael, aged 10, 6th February 2014
A one of a kind
It was a one of a kind book. I wish I had a friend like Bryan Nylon he was my best character.

Charlie, aged 10, 6th February 2014
Tongue twisters
I like the writing of the tongue twisters; it really made me twist my tongue and laugh a lot!

Yangjen, aged 9, 6th February 2014
My favourite character is Samuel Nathaniel Daniels, he is hilarious. You should read this!

Evie, aged 9, 6th February 2014
A laugh on every page
This book had a laugh on every page. When I had finished I wanted to time travel.

Hugh, aged 10, 6th February 2014