Media Type: Print Book (ARC)
Title: Time Traveling With A Hamster
Author: Ross Welford
Publisher: Schwartz & Wade
Pages: Hardcover; 434
Release Date: October 4, 2016
Content Screening: Nothing of note.
HDB Rating: 5 Keys to My Heart
Recommended to: Readers of all ages, but specifically those young readers who have a big love for science and theory!
Back to the Future meets The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time in this original, poignant, race-against-time story about a boy who travels back to 1984 to save his father’s life.
My dad died twice. Once when he was thirty-nine and again four years later, when he was twelve. On his twelfth birthday, Al Chaudhury receives a letter from his dead father. It directs him to the bunker of their old house, where Al finds a time machine (an ancient computer and a tin bucket). The letter also outlines a mission: travel back to 1984 and prevent the go-kart accident that will eventually take his father’s life. But as Al soon discovers, whizzing back thirty years requires not only imagination and courage, but also lying to your mom, stealing a moped, and setting your school on fire—oh, and keeping your pet hamster safe. With a literary edge and tons of commerical appeal, this incredible debut has it all: heart, humor, vividly imagined characters, and a pitch-perfect voice.
Okay, color me impressed! You've heard me praise the wonders of Middle Grade fiction and its wonderful authors many a time, and yet it never fails to stun me how much goodness comes out of the books written for this age group. Ross Welford has penned a gem here. Time Traveling With A Hamster simultaneously pulls together the importance of family, the grey areas we face when making hard decisions, the beauty (and issues) associated with being passionate about something, and even owning up to ones own mistakes. I am so thrilled to have read this, and can't recommend it enough!
Now, let me put out there that there are actually a fair amount of high end concepts in this book. As a reader who believes fully in not talking down to young readers, I was smitten with this. Al Chadhury's father was a brilliant man. One who wasn't afraid to dabble in science and theory, ultimately leading to his discovery of time travel. Through Al's travels in time, and the letters his father left behind, he learns so much about everything his dad was passionate about. There are brilliant descriptions of the theory of relativity, and examples that actually make it palatable for young minds. There's even discussions of memory devices. Suffice it to say, I was blown away by the sheer amount of lessons in here.
Better still, none of those lessons seemed to slow down the overall pace of the story. I admit that it took a few chapters to really get going, as some books do, but once I was immersed that was it. Al's quest to save his dad flew by. His brushes with danger, his quick thinking to get out of hairy situations, his realizations that he might not be as clever as the thought he was, all of it just blurred together into this gorgeous story that wouldn't let me go. The ending is perfection, especially for an MG read, and I couldn't have been happier.
Long story short? This is a must have for reading lists of all ages, but specifically I think this would be a wonderful book to share as a family. There are just so many good ideas caught up in here, I feel like it would be an amazing read to share between parents and their children. Ross Welford has written the type of story that transcends age groups, and that's no easy feat! Add this to your reading list. You won't regret it.
FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.