Tuesday, November 15, 2016

In Due TIme

In Due Time: Stay a Spell & Wrong Place. (Really) Wrong Time
Nicholas O. Time
Simon & Schuster, 2016 155/134 pgs
Grades 3-6
Fantasy/Historical Fiction
In Due Time Series #2 & #3

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Spelling-challenged fashionista, Jade, gets an offer from her school librarian, Ms. Tremt, that she can't refuse. She is invited to travel back into the past with two friends. After much consideration Jada chooses 1977 to a Hollywood movie studio costume shop where her Aunt Katy is interning. The three friends enter the world of disco balls and polyester as they encounter Aunt Katy hard at work as a teenager. With only three hours in the past there is no time to see Star War in its original release, but they do have enough time to tour the costume shop, visit a famous record store and save the day for Aunt Katy. Surprisingly enough, Jada helps Aunt Katy out by fixing a spelling mistake that saves her internship and changes the course of her career in the future for the better. The three time explorers manage to make it back before its too late, but who is the strange man who seems to be following them? Is he trying to steal the Book of Memories?

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Luiz, who traveled along with Matt in volume one, has his turn for an adventure. With unclaimed treasure on his mind, Luiz plans on going to the pirate ship of Captain Kidd to find the notorious bandit's hidden secrets. He takes along new kid, Patrick, who is initially unfamiliar, becomes an instant friend with much in common as the adventure progresses. Luiz tells his older brother Rafael about the opportunity, but Raf doesn't believe him. How can he prove to his brother that time travel is for real? Once the adventure begins it becomes clear that the Book of Memories is not working as it ought to. To make matters worse, the new friends appear to be followed by Tim Raveltere, who's evil purpose is now revealed: to collect formidable characters from the past in order to achieve power and money. The pirate life is not as glamorous as Luiz and Patrick expected and the adventure leads to potentially deadly results. Once back in the present, all seems well until Luiz wakes up to find a Viking, King Tut, and Charlie Chaplin in his bedroom. While Ms. Trent was distracted the day before, he took the Book of Memories home to prove to his brother that time travel is real. Raf now is a  believer, but is stuck along with his brother and Patrick, trying to corral  the gang from the past back to their own time. Where is Ms. Tremt? They need help now before it’s too late

In Due Time is my new favorite time travel series. It is full of action, adventure, and humor with a bit of history thrown in. Lighter than Magic Tree House it will attract fans of that series, plus new ones that find the Magic Tree House a bit intense. This series makes time travel seem possible and lays out the rules in a clear and sensible way. The cast is diverse in both race and gender, inviting everyone to find someone to identify with to go on an armchair time travel adventure. History is revealed in an entertaining way and volume two even explains Einstein's theory of relativity, thus making time travel possible, in an accessible way that even this old brain could comprehend. I particularly enjoyed volume two, since it was set in the 1970's, the decade of my youth. Much was as the author describes. My only quibble was with the use of the word "groovy", which was more of a hippy word. The 1970's was a quickly changing decade and by 1977 no one was saying groovy anymore. Much like Ms. Tremt, I can do the hustle, although the record stores in Syracuse where I grew up did not break out into a performance flash-mob of the dance. Maybe that was a LA thing. At any rate, I enjoyed seeing my childhood as a time traveling destination in the deep past. Believe it or not, I was not alive during the time of Captain Kidd, so I have no first hand experience on the authenticity of this time period. It seemed accurate to me with the smells and sensibilities of the pirate population. A new nemesis is introduced in volume two and carrying over into volume three, giving the series a plot-line that will unify it and lead readers to the next installment. Number four is set for release next week,followed by five and six next year. This series is a fun and educational introduction to the time travel genre likely to be enjoyed by a large cross-population of young readers. 

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