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A Chase In Time (The Time-Seekers) Paperback – 2 Aug 2018
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'Nicholls is a great storyteller and this is a clever vehicle for introducing the differences between then and now in an accessible way, with a fast-paced plot and a lovely spooky ending... My Clock's ticking for the next in the series.' --The Times, Children's Book of the Week
'Good clean fun...The book consists of 10 short, cliffhanger chapters, which an able reader would devour in a sitting. (It is aimed at readers of nine-plus, but should be easy fodder for a seven-year-old.) Some of the history lessons might seem brisk…But Nicholls is a wonderful storyteller. Dates may be swiftly dispensed with, but when it comes to a bodice or collar no detail is missed.' --The Daily Telegraph, Best Children's Books of 2018
'This rip-roaring time-slip novel has a fast-paced plot and entertaining characters. With black-and-white line drawings illustrating each chapter, this first tale in the series is ideal for confident young readers with an interest in history.' --BookTrust
About the Author
Sally Nicholls was born in Stockton-on-Tees, just after midnight, in a thunderstorm. She spent most of her childhood trying to make real life as much like a book as possible. Her first novel, Ways to Live Forever, won the Waterstones Children's Book Prize in 2008 and in 2015 her novel An Island of Our Own was shortlisted for the Costa Children's Prize, Guardian Children's Book Prize and UKLA Book Award, and won the Independent Bookseller's Week Book Award. Sally lives in a little house in Oxford with her husband and son, writing stories, and trying to believe her luck.
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Alex and Ruby are in their great-aunt's house, that she is soon to have to leave, when they notice strange people inside the old mirror. Without warning, the siblings are pulled through into the house they see in the mirror, and into their family of 1912...
Able to blend in a little, with a family wedding coming up and guests around, Alex and Ruby spend time with the Edwardian children who must be relatives of theirs, and find themselves caught up in a gentle crime/mystery.
It's easy to get caught up in the story, Alex and Ruby make numerous observations about life in the past, the clothes and cars, behaviour and language - it's the sorts of things we'd all ask about. The other characters they meet are charismatic (nice to have an unusual occupation like 'anthropologist' make an appearance too, a field authentically popular at the time).
The crime/mystery story moves quickly, the children play a large role in solving the issues, and the time-slip itself is never explained but left in a way that means future episodes are possible.
I liked the way the two time periods connected, with family members and the house, and hopefully the two will intersect again. I can imagine that children aged around 8-11 will find this an accessible story that moves quickly, contains boys and girls they will identify with, gives an enjoyable look at the past.
I'll look out for Nicholls' next in the series.
With thanks to the publisher for the competition copy.
I love the way that author Sally Nicholls has made reference to the changes which the children observe – clothing, food, manners, even jobs – and believe that this is helpful to younger readers in appreciating the way that the same house can be so different in different eras.
The story itself is a great adventure, rattling along at a happy pace, with fire, theft and a car chase among the marvellous occurrences. The siblings are drawn in to the family life within the great house where they befriend youngsters their own age, and meet Atherton and Mary on the eve of their wedding. This young couple are used to the unexpected befalling them on their travels and are not panicked by meeting time travellers or near-disaster – their strength of character is admirable.
I thoroughly enjoyed the book and am truly excited that this is the start of a new Time-Seekers series, with a second book, ‘The Secret in Time’, is on its way in February 2019.
A word about the illustration and page appearance of this book – Brett Helquist’s cover illustration and his clocks ad ships in a bottle on the pages are delightful!
I completely devoured this book in one sitting, time literally flew by as I got totally caught up in this intriguing adventure. It really is like stepping into the past with it’s considered attention to period detail, told with real enthusiasm and insight. Sally has assembled a perfectly marvellous cast of characters who will delight and entertain readers. Alex and Ruby think they’re way ahead of the game compared to their distant relatives from the past Henry and Dora but they soon find they are a worthy match of pluckiness and determination as they work together to track down the thief. The adults are wonderfully eccentric, so full of life and adventure not realising that they are on the brink of the great war that will change their lives forever. I love how she highlights the difference between life now and back in the Edwardian era, in particular how Ruby is horrified at the constraints Dora’s clothes place on her compared to the comfortable jeans and trainers she wears. Brett’s illustrations complement this story perfectly creating a truly beautiful and engaging read. Fast, frenetic and completely fun this book is a must have read for any confident child who has moved on from first chapter books and is looking to bridge the gap to middle grade reads.