Think school is boring? Not for these futuristic kids! Here at SciHi, science, science fiction and adventure combine for our intrepid protagonists. And this will be a very “timely” adventure indeed .
In a near future world where technology is a bit more advanced than our own, Sidney Jamison is just your average curious kid with a penchant for taking things apart and figuring out how they work . . . and maybe getting them back together again. Okay, so Sidney isn’t quite so average, and neither is his school. Fourteen year old Sid is attending the elite school for budding scientific minds, Sci Hi where he and his friends, Penny and Hari can’t seem to keep themselves out of trouble–or adventures! It’s an ordinary day at SciHi, creating wild inventions and hosting nanobot competitions . . . until the entire Goddard Island is thrown millions of years back in time.
Clearly time travel is not only possible–it’s being used as sabotage! Someone doesn’t want SciHi to ever reach it’s home time again. Now the brilliant minds of SciHi must find a way to jump the entire island back to the future! But while the professors are busy working out the particulars of time travel to undo what has been done, surely there’s some time to check out the wildlife. After all, wouldn’t you want to see some real live dinosaurs if you had the opportunity? It’s a class field trip even Ms. Frizzle couldn’t imagine. Sid, Penny and Hari not only get into some close confrontations with crazy critters, they make an even more stunning discovery . . . one that will mean everything to Sid. Of course, the nefarious Alchemists are lurking in the shadows, ready to do whatever they can to disrupt SciHi and forward their own goals!
Time travel books are not incredibly unusual in middle-grade fiction. But there are fairly few that take a SF approach. Timothy J. Bradley captures that idea of the fun of time travel . . . going back to meet dinosaurs and other ancient creatures face to face. Seriously, when you were a kid, did you think about time travel and think “oh I wish I would be zapped back to the 1950s?” If you did, I’m suitably impressed. But when I was a kid, I dreamed of having that time machine that’d take me back in time to the pages of my dinosaur books . . . The author takes pains to be up to date with current prehistoric knowledge and to give us a range of creatures rather than the cliched T-Rex and Triceratops style of creatures anyone knows about if they’ve heard of dinosaurs. With it’s shorter length and black and white illustrations, this is perfect for those younger or more reluctant readers who are looking for an exciting story but intimidated by too much narrative. Like the last two books, the author mixes up the illustrations, some being full scenes, while others are a diagram of a tool, building or vehicle. The benefit of having this novel illustrated by it’s author is that you know your getting a clear image of the things Timothy Bradley is describing.
For those interested, I reviewed the first book in this series, Hive Mind (2013) here. And the second book, Ripple Effect (2014) here. In the first review I explained why books like this are so essential to make available to young readers. They are series books, meant to be read as an ongoing series of adventures, much like other fantasy adventure series and mystery series out there, but the key is they are not simply in a science fiction universe–the stories explore science and scientific concepts. In order to inspire the next generation of readers with ambitions of being scientists, explorers, innovators and engineers, we have to provide them stories that help them imagine what that might mean. Provide them with what if’s that can prompt youngsters to one day want to invent a time travel tool, or design their own nanobot.
Adventure and science fun combine from page one in this third book. Sid and his crew are designing nanobots to fight against one another . . . which is wild when you consider how tiny those bots actually are! When the entire island is zapped back in time, there’s more at stake than merely a wild trip through time. Sid’s back story with his missing father and the ongoing fight against the Alchemists is going to come to a head. More than ever before Alchemists and the scientists and students of Goddard Island are going to clash with one another. There’s plenty here for the readers who simply want to read about time travel into the prehistoric, but there’s also a continuing story thread that will tie this book back to the earlier two . . . and lead eventually into the fourth story of Sid and his friends.
The back of the book contains a Reader’s Guide chock full of information, discussions to have about the book, a suggested science project and a short quiz as to whether you would survive prehistory. This book is a great way of tying fiction in with fact and coaxing kids to delve into nonfiction that will touch on topics mentioned here.
I hope kids will pick these up and read them, and be inspired to discover, invent and explore!
Here are a few nonfiction reads to go along with the title:
When Dinos Dawned, Mammals Got Munched and Pterosaurs Took Flight: A Cartoon PreHistory of Life in the Triassic by Hannah Bonner (National Geographic Children’s Books, 2012) Robotics: Discover the Science and Technology of the Future with 25 Projects by Kathy Ceceri (Nomad Press, 2012) Paleontology: The Study of Prehistoric Life by Susan H. Grey (Scholastic, 2012) Note: An advanced copy of this work was provided by the author....more