Posts tagged ‘time travel’

A JOLT FROM MEMORY LANE

Saving Chocolate Thunder

Written by Erin Slavin

Illustrated by Drew Rose

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Cory is an eleven year old fifth grader with a vivid imagination. He loves his three year old brother David who likes to pretend he is a superhero. One day Cory decides to help David fly by taping him with duct tape to the door knob and kicking the chair out from beneath him. His parents don’t think he is funny and ground Corey in his room for one week. What really bothers Corey is that his workaholic father never seems to have time for him anymore. Corey schemes to hide his father’s phone. That gets him grounded again. While in his room, reading Goosebumps, Corey suddenly finds himself in the book. He meets a conch shell, a talking horse, and a purple jelly-like character named Mother Imagination. Nicknamed M.I., Mother Imagination seems to know all about Corey and his family. M. I. reveals a boy in a video who wears a strange costume, sings, and identifies himself as Chocolate Thunder. M.I. informs Corey that this boy is an imaginary friend from his father’s past. With the assistance of his friend Leo and his grandma, Corey conspires to imitate the character in the hopes of jogging his father’s memories, but not before a series of mishaps and adventures ensue. Will Corey embarrass himself or will he succeed in reconnecting with his dad and strengthening their relationship?

This approximately eighty page chapter book with cute black and white illustrations sports a creative plot and is filled with humor and realistic family scenarios. Recommended especially for readers in the seven to ten year age bracket, but it will be enjoyed by younger and slightly older readers as well. Could be an interesting ongoing series.

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PARENTS LOST IN TIME

The Adventures of Caroline: and the Time Machine

Written by Eric and Elena Oberst

Illustrations by Manoj Bhargav

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Charming chapter book targeted for readers in the six to twelve age range. This book stretches more than one hundred pages, and is best suited for readers in the eight to twelve age bracket. Color illustrations at the beginning of each chapter are well done; they capture the dreamy quality of the fantasy tale.

Caroline is an inquisitive and imaginative eight year old who lives with her Auntie Ann since her parents mysteriously disappeared when she was four years old. On a cold morning in January, Caroline is bored and decides to go up to the attic, which is one of her favorite places to explore She rummages through one of the trunks and finds something new at the bottom of one of them. It is a box with dials, buttons and antennas that looks like an old radio. She experiments with the dials and sets it to June 15, 2015. When she goes downstairs for a snack, she finds the weather outside is warm and the birds are singing. Caroline has stepped six months into the future.

Discovering that the device seems to work, Caroline sets it back to the time of the dinosaurs. She gets more than she bargained for when she encounters T Rex. By quickly turning the dial, Caroline escapes but finds herself in the Pleistocene Age with Woolly Mammoths and Saber Tooth Tigers. Again she hurriedly sets her dial. This time she is about one hundred years in the past near her house where she meets a little boy named Tommy who wants to befriend her. Caroline sets the dial once more and arrives back at Auntie Ann’s house.

After doing some more research, Caroline tracks down her parents’ whereabouts on the day they disappeared. She is determined to go back to the past and find out what happened to them. But will she get more than she bargained for? Will Caroline be able to bring her parents back to her time or will she step into theirs?

This book is a delightful science fiction/fantasy time travel tale that has a broad appeal. Caroline is a strong, determined female role model who knows what she wants and goes after it. The short chapters with appealing illustrations make it a good choice for a class read aloud and discussion. Look forward to the next book in the series. Warning! The end of book one is a cliffhanger.

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MYSTERIOUS MELANGE

Nick Spool Galactic Private Eye

Written by Clark Graham

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Contrary to what the title implies, this book is a collection of short stories. Not all of them are about a detective named Nick Spool. There are nine stories with various subjects. Though they all about strange happenings, I would not classify them as strictly science fiction stories.

In the detective story, Nick Spool is called upon to investigate the murder of Zafir Ermen, who is a Gaululite. The setting is a world in the future which have cities in the sky belonging to different planets. The Gaululites are considered an inferior race. Nick’s discovers that his client, Patsy Lawless, is running a slave business trading Gaululites as servants to governors in sky cities. Nick uncovers the plot and is able to give the information about the murder to Detective Stark. Other stories include the descendants of World War II veterans who discover gold and bury it with the intention of returning after the war, a young boy who senses himself a stranger and turns out to be a descendant of a pre-Egyptian race, and another about an accountant who learns about a strange portal and decides to walk through it, discovering he is about to live a life of luxury in the dwarf colony on the other side. He finds out the life is not all that has been promised.

The stories have appeal for those who like unusual characters in quirky settings. This would be a good book to take on vacation. Nothing objectionable in it for the middle school reader. Readers nine and older will find the tales humorous and easy to read. Quality of the stories vary, but are written well for the most part. I would rate the collection between three and four stars.

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TIME TRAVEL TROUBLES

Youngtimer: Adventures in Travel Book 1

Written by G.G. Fulton

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First book in a series of middle grade time travel adventures. Carly is a twelve year old sixth grader who is very bright. So bright that her school is determined to skip her two grades. When Carly gets wind of this, she comes up with an ingenious plan to prevent that from happening. Her scheme includes bribing a fellow student to pretend to be her boyfriend by doing his homework for him, and slacking off in school assignments so that she appears to be a love sick preteen incapable of earning her teacher’s trust and unenviable nerd status.

In terms of everyday life, Carly and her best friend Patti are pretty ordinary. Carly is very close to her grandpa who is a bit of an eccentric because he spends lots of time locked up in his workshop. When her grandfather unexpectedly passes away, he leaves her a box of instructions with a letter. He tells Carly not to open the box until she turns eighteen. Patti convinces her to give in to curiosity. After all, who can possibly wait six years, an eternity in a twelve year old’s life.

Now Carly often acts first and thinks second. That will lead the friends into trouble when they start experimenting with using the time machine locked in grandpa’s garage. The friends go back in time to visit a One Direction concert, the filming of their favorite movie on the island of Santorini, and visiting a school bully named Lulu, with unexpected consequences each time. But Carly receives her biggest scare when she attempts to go back in time to prevent her parents from meeting. What was she thinking? Now her life as she knows it won’t exist.

Readers in the middle grades will love the strengths and flaws in both the children and adult characters in this series. Targeted for grades four through eight, boys and girls will find a lot of familiar problems and situations. Good book for classroom discussion. I look forward to examining other books in the series.

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A MOVING EXPERIENCE

Benjamin Dragon: Awakening (Chronicles of Benjamin Dragon Book 1)

Written by C.G. Cooper

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Ten year old Benjamin Dragon is a very bright child who has already skipped two years in school. He is the son of Tanya and Timothy Dragon, a powerful lawyer and businessman. Their frequent moves plus Benjamin’s small statue and last name provide fertile ground for bullies. On the first day of a new school Benjamin is bullied on the playground. Egging him on to fight, Nathan lies on the ground bloodied and injured. But Benjamin is puzzled because he never even touched the boy.

When his parents urge him to go to the hospital to apologize, Benjamin discovers that he and Nathan have a lot in common. They become good friends, but Nathan is just as puzzled about what happened. When Benjamin is at the scene of a close-call car crash, and the car swerves away to avoid hitting a young girl, Benjamin begins to suspect he had something to do with it. Weird things begin happening. Benjamin swears Nathan to secrecy.

A strange old man named Kennedy pays a visit to Benjamin and explains that there are certain special people in the world. Some have the gift of healing, some the gift of growing, and others the gift of destruction, which roughly translates to telekinesis. He informs Benjamin that he will be trained in his gifts.

Benjamin is scared, but he is elated that he will be attending Camp Walamalican with his friends Nathan and Aaron. There he meets another gifted one named Wally who is a healer. On the other hand, Benjamin will come face to face with a destructor who threatens to corrupt him and destroy people that he loves. Will Benjamin learn how to use his powers? How can he adjust to living a normal live, while coping with extraordinary power?

Recommended for a middle grade, young adult and adult audience. The characters and plot are well developed. Addresses lots of issues pre teens and teens face like bullying, fitting in with peers, being gifted, and getting along with parents. Look forward to more in the series.

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HAPPY FATHER’S DAY! – GRANDPA’S SECRET

The Time Machine Girls:Book One:Secrets

Written by Ernestine Tito Jones

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Charming chapter book featuring two sisters, eight year old Hazel and six year old Bess. The girls could not be more different: Hazel is responsible, truthful and obedient, Bess is unrestrained, mischievous and prone to hide the truth.

The sisters are trapped in their grandparents home for the summer while their mother helps them clean out the house in preparation for downsizing. Because the girls have no TV and no internet, the opportunity for getting into trouble immediately presents itself. Hazel has been given a book of rules; under no circumstances can they go into the attic. When Hazel consents to play hide and seek with Bess, little Bess runs to hide in the attic. There the girls find some strange books about time travel and a unusual contraption, which Bess promptly decides to sit in. Sure enough, they find themselves back in time. The sisters find themselves in the year 1738 on the lawn of George Washington’s boyhood farm. He is a six year old boy. What connection does their time machine have with George? Will the girls be able to find their way back home to the twenty first century? If so, how can they explain what they did to their parents and grandparents?

This book is the introduction to a series that promises to hold lots of fun for beginning and early middle grade readers. A house full of secrets, strange grandparents, and two inquisitive and intelligent sisters sound like the beginning of an interesting adventure series for readers in the seven to twelve age group.

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FALLING THROUGH TIME

The Pendant Saga: Book One: Picaroons and Pembertons

Written by J.A. Knighted

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Well-written fast paced adventure, science fiction, fantasy, time-travel tale for middle school and young adult readers. Penny, Jade and Phillip Pemberton have been dropped off to spend the summer with their grandfather in the Colorado desert while their parents are off traveling.

The precocious trio forget to close the gate and grandpa’s dog, Old Scout escapes. They desperately search for him, Their grandfather punishes the children by demanding they go out and move a pile of old junk back to the house so that he can sell it. On their way out, Philip finds a skull sticking out of the sand and later a mysterious gold pendant. Soon the three children fall into what appears to be a well, but instead find out they have fallen into an ocean from another time and dimension.

Pirates, bullies, strange lands, sea monsters and kidnappers await the three children as they struggle to find a way back to their own time and dimension. Along the way, they will learn about themselves, their family, and a world that is not always as it appears.

These characters are compelling and well developed. Book One of the series is at once an adventure, fantasy, coming of age and commentary on issues like bullying and family relationships. Look forward to the next adventure. Recommended for readers ages ten and older.

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