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The Accidental Time Traveller (Kelpies)

The Accidental Time Traveller (Kelpies) [Kindle Edition]

Janis Mackay
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Product Description


'This book is very exciting. My favourite character is Agatha. I found her quite funny and very clever, and I found it interesting to see the things she was surprised about in the modern world - things are much noisier now than in 1812! ... I especially enjoyed learning some history while I read. I would recommend this book for boys and girls who like history.' -- Children's Books, The Guardian 'This is really a sweet story of a boy trying to help a girl from a different time go home ... The story is based on a real diary of the past written by a young girl that died from measles, so it has the ring of authenticity. There is a lot of misunderstanding and a lot of action in this novel. While it's written for young adults, I really enjoyed this and intend to buy a copy for my personal library.' -- Journey of a Bookseller blog 'This is a well-structured time-slip story that cleverly keeps its momentum and manages, largely through the sympathetic character of Saul, to draw the reader in ... he's friendly, generous and principled - traits that help him to grow in maturity and wisdom as his friendship with Agatha develops. The ever-present landscape of snow and slush, thick fog and dark winter skies -- and Christmas warmth -- adds atmosphere to this enjoyable story.' -- Books for Keeps 'This story is really charming, and in the end, very heartwarming. More great "stealth teaching" about history and life in another era as well as dealing with bullying and the meaning of friendship ... I highly recommend it for middle school readers and beyond.' -- The Goode Word blog 'I like the book and I think upper elementary school readers will like it as well.' -- Guys Lit Wire blog 'Janis is a clever teacher. Rather than explain the differences between life then and now, she uses humour and misunderstandings to provide a gentle history lesson in the midst of an exciting adventure. As well as forging a good plot, Saul is an engaging hero; he wants all the things boys want at Christmas but has a sense of integrity that wins through in the end as he and his friends overcome prejudice and bullying.' -- Lothian Life 'This book had a great story line. The characters in the book felt and acted their age. There was a good character arc throughout the book. I read this book in a fairly short time because the story just sucks you right in. Very smooth writing for an easy read ... The themes in this book were very good (themes such as: family, courage, standing up to bullies, acceptance of others).' -- Rantings, Ravings and Ramblings blog 'Mackay has written another playful, easy going story for pre-teens full of lively dialogue. We experience everything through Saul's eyes and thought-life which he directs towards the reader, telling us the story as it unfolds...Agatha comes off the page as an interesting, talented person, presenting fascinating facts of life in the past...[T]his is not a book which wants to educate children but rather give them a good time, encouraging them to read for themselves as Saul takes them by the hand while he narrates his adventure. Children will hopefully find the meeting of two worlds which have to rub along, getting to know each other and adapt, worthwhile. Saul's encounters, dilemmas and choices, Agatha's need to return home, her enthusiasm to learn and ability to make friends, together with the supporting characters' presence and influence makes The Accidental Time Traveller a pleasant, cosy read.' --New View 'Young readers familiar with time transfers from TV will enjoy the situation and absorb some information about life 200 years ago along the way.' -- School Librarian journal 'A good, solid adventure story that engages the reader throughout and moves towards a satisfying conclusion.' -- Carousel

Product Description

Winner of the Scottish Children's Book Award 2013 Younger Readers (8-11 years) category. I'm not mad, ok? I know this sounds off the wall, but I was just walking to the corner shop and this girl almost got hit by a car. She grabbed hold of me and told me her name's Agatha Black and she's here from the past. At first I thought she was nuts but maybe it's true. She doesn't get traffic, she's freaked out by photos and she's terrified of TV. And she knows about the past -- body snatchers, making fires, and pet monkeys. Her dad does a bit of time travel. But obviously, he's not very good at it. I mean, he got her lost. Now it's me that has to get her back … to 1812!

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 504 KB
  • Print Length: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Kelpies (21 Feb 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S. r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #15,498 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

I am a writer living in the far north of Scotland - right next to the sea. The setting inspires a lot of my writing. The Magnus Fin books are especially inspired by selkies legends and the environment in front of me. I am a storyteller and blend together traditional storytelling with contemporary themes. I was lucky to win the Kelpies prize in 2009 for my first novel - magnus Fin and the ocean quest. I live with my partner, my dog Flora and a few clucking hens.

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Customer Reviews

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4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
There's a lot about Saul's disgruntled voice that will appeal to children of 8-12. His worries about whether or not he'll get a BMX for Christmas, his frustration with his twin baby sisters and his lacklustre attitude towards school all come across in a very realistic and relatable way.

And though I know little about Scotland, let alone Scotland in 1812, because Saul rings so true, it was easy to get swept up in believing Agatha's voice as well. The little details about life in the 19th century were interesting, and would no doubt be enough to send the more historically minded tweenager to their history books or Google to find out more.

In terms of story, it's a fairly predictable but sweet tale of friendship and realising that money isn't everything. There are some missed opportunities with outcast character Agnes, but otherwise it's a heartwarming tale and one that could be enjoyed by both parents and children.

I did keep hoping when I started a new chapter that this would be the one where Saul ends up back in 1812, but that never happened - another shame, as I would have been fascinated to see Agatha's world. But other than that, I really enjoyed the book and would recommend it to any younger fantasy fan.

Rating: 4/5
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A good read! 27 Mar 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I saw this book advertised in the publisher's catalogue (Floris Books), and it lloked like a book that would appeal to me, and having read it, I was not wrong!
I thought it was a nice story, and it was a book I wanted to carry on reading to see what happens next! It is also a story that makes me think about what I would do if I came across someone from the past, or if I went back to the past.
The book itself is set in December 2012 and March 2013, so is right up to date, and the fact that it is set in a real place in Scotland lends it a sense of reality.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition
This book is brilliant and really connects with you when you read it.You forget that anything else is happening as you are sucked into Saul and Agathas world.I recommend that you buy this book because the story and plot is one of the best.GO and buy it NOW!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.7 out of 5 stars  6 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not really a time travel book 4 April 2013
By A. Northrup - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
I was so excited about reading this book. Middles grades books about time travel are basically limited to the Magic Tree House books. I was looking forward to an epic adventure a la Dr. Who. Sadly, this was not to be. Not that it's a bad book... it just isn't a time travel adventure. Read the premise again... read it carefully. There is basically no time travel in this book. Rather than thinking of this book as science fiction, maybe it's best to see it as realistic fiction that happens to have a main character from the past.

Once I got over this disappointment (stupid misleading title!), I rather enjoyed the story of Saul and Agatha. We spend a lot of time being amazed by the technology of the 21st century and Saul is quite surprised that life in 1812 wasn't as backwards as he expected. The first half of the book focuses on these revelations and Agatha describes the (strange and silly) process used for time travel. These 100 pages really frustrated me, waiting for something to happen. The second half of the book is more interesting and has a very satisfying conclusion. All the pieces fit together just so.

A few things kept this book from meeting it's full potential:
* Why is the story told from Saul's first-person perspective. It would have been much more interesting told from Agatha's perspective. That would have allowed us to feel the shock of life in the 21st century, rather than just see her freak out all the time.

* This story takes place in Scotland and it is very, very Scottish. Very few of my rural American 5th graders would be able to follow this book with it's frequent use of dialect. Agatha's speech is also very authentic. She says things like, "Afore yea hasten away, pray look." That's a direct quote. I would only be able to give this book to students who have a lot of experience reading dialect, and maybe watch some BBC programming.

* In the story, Saul writes an essay about life in 1812. For a sixth grader, he is a poor writer. The essay uses no transitions, detail, or organization. Most of my fifth graders write better than Saul. That's fine - I'm glad to see him trying and getting into it. My problem with this is that Saul's essay actually WINS the essay contest! He wins! This was just too Mighty Ducks for me...

The Accidental Time Traveller would be a great book for children who are interested in 19th century history and are willing to be confused when reading dialect.
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly compelling and deeply moving 17 Dec 2013
By James Mowry - Published on
I got this book for my 11-year old daughter, but once I glanced at the first chapter I found myself reading it. It is a well-written, highly compelling, and ultimately deeply moving story about a girl, Agatha, who is projected 200 years into the future--from 1812 to 2012--by her father's time travel experiment. Once there, she needs the help of Saul, a boy her own age, to return. The important part of the story has nothing to do with time travel, however. It is the lessons that Agatha teaches Saul and his friends during her stay in the future. These range from practical things such as starting a fire without matches to much more important lessons about life and friendship. All of this takes place in a well-drawn Scottish village setting, and the author's use of Scottish words (and products such as Irn-Bru) adds to the flavor and authenticity. I know my daughter will enjoy this book as much as I did, although she probably won't cry (not with sadness) through the last few pages!
3.0 out of 5 stars Appropriate for middle school aged children (10 - 13) 3 Dec 2013
By MIsaac80 - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
This was a nice little story appropriate for pre-teens. I did feel that the story started out slow but the pace improved as the story developed. Stylistically the author's writing also seemed to grow stronger as the story progressed.

The Accidental Time Traveller is a story about a boy named Saul who stumbles across a girl named Agatha. Agatha has somewhat accidentally traveled through time and is dismayed to discover that she is stuck in 21st century Scotland - very unfamiliar territory for a girl from Scotland in the 1800's. It does not take Saul long to believe her account of jumping over 200 years into the future and he resolves to help her return to her own time while helping keep her and her secret safe with a great deal of creativity and with the help of a few trusted friends.

There are several things in Saul's life that young readers will relate to - loving but un-attentive parents (due to the recent births of twin siblings), tight budgets, an annoying teacher, a relentless bully, a motley crew of school friends, lofty wish lists and the desire for recognition. Saul finds that by relying on those in his life, but especially himself, even the impossible can be possible.

There are several underlying themes that the reader will take away - here are just a few:
- A little creativity can help solve both minor and complex problems
- With drive and passion, great things can be accomplished
- Friends and Family can help you if you let them but you can also manage on your own by being confident and thinking things through
- Things on the surface are not always as they seem
- Sometimes you have to make personal sacrifices in order to do the right thing or help the greater good.
- Do not judge a book by it's cover

A cute story that is appropriate for middle schoolers.

Disclosure: I received an e-copy of this book for review from NetGalley. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are my own. This review also posted to Good Reads and
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Middle Grade Novel 9 Aug 2013
By christie - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
Most Young Adult (YA) or Middle-Grade books fall somewhere along the spectrum of either having weak characters, and a weak plot, which the younger readers may not notice, or being very well written, and enjoyable for adults. I found this one fit somewhere in between, and I would highly recommend it to middle and grade schoolers.

Shortlisted for the Scottish Children's Book Award 2013, the story begins with Saul, on his way to the local store to buy some items for his mother, witnesses a girl suddenly appear in the middle of the road. After rescuing her, he's surprised at how puzzled she is by traffic, items in the shop, and she's wearing a very dated looking dress. Agatha Black introduces herself, and we soon discover she's traveled through time with the help of her father, who we find isn't the best time traveler.

Through Agatha, Saul learns about the history of his small town in Scotland, and she learns about what life is like in the 21st century. She gets to attend school, meet some of this friends, but she really wants to go home, and Saul tries his best and helping her travel back in time.

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher, but it in no way effects my review of the book.
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, but not great 1 Mar 2013
By A. Nunez - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
(I received an ARC from NetGalley to review.)

I work in an elementary school library and was excited when I read the book description. A boy runs into a girl from 200 years in the past. That combined with the cover art suggested it would be a book the students would enjoy. But my enthusiasm waned as I started reading.

The main character is Saul, an 11 year old who is a sly and shifty character. He's being punished for breaking the rules. All his thoughts seemed to be focused on getting one over on his parents, including his poor mom who just had twins. When he's allowed to run to the corner store, he meets and saves a strange girl, Agatha. Agatha shares her story about how her father sent her through time, but she landed too far ahead.

While part of the time travelling theory was interesting, part seemed unnecessary. (She had to stand on a yew branch, while holding a piece of gold, and sing a song.)

Saul agrees to help get her back to her own time, but he's focused on how Agatha's problem can reward him. He's frequently impatient with her inability to deal with information overload. As an adult, I also had an issue with certain things glossed over in the story. Agatha hides out in Saul's clubhouse for five days, without showering or changing clothes. She also has a sweet tooth, which Saul feeds, but there's no mention of brushing her teeth. I find it hard to believe that a well brought up girl from the 1800's would be ok with being this dirty.

There's also a side story involving a bully, which I felt detracted from the main story.

But the book improved towards the end. There was another girl, Agnes, who came into the story and added an interesting twist. I also felt Saul's character was redeemed at the end. I do wish I knew what happened with Agatha's family.

On a sidenote-I read the story via Kindle and there was an issue with strange breaks in paragraphs and, in one instance, dialogue between two characters pushed into one paragraph. My first time reading an ebook and I don't know if this is normal.

So, I think the story was ok, but could have been better.
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