No YouTube. No smoothies. No Manga. Not ever again. Unless Pete figures out how to reverse his bad spell and free Weasel and him from the past.
A young wizard accidentally opens a time lock and he and his bookish friend are swept into Victorian England, where they will be trapped forever if that wizard-in-training can’t find a way to reverse his bad spell by the next full moon--just three days away!
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In my other life--the one before I began writing for teens and younger readers--I was a teacher and administrator at California State University, San Jose. My field of Linguistics and Inter-cultural Communication has carried me to a lot of places in the world to explore different cultures and languages. I can say, “Where’s the toilet?” and “I’m lost!” in at least five languages and two dialects. Go ahead. Pat me on the back.
My idea of a perfect day is one or all of the following: starting a new novel, finishing writing a blockbuster novel, hiking on a misty morning trail in the Santa Cruz Mountains, saying Namaste after a great yoga practice, sipping a cappuccino topped at a bustling café, reading in front of a fire with snow outside, swimming in an ocean someplace.
Have you ever wanted to travel back in time or ahead to the future? What if you managed to do so but did not know the magic words to return back to your time? Well, Pete and Weasel, from ALLIGATERS OVERHEAD, are back and in trouble, again.
In THE GREAT TIME LOCK DISASTER, sequel to ALLIGTORS OVERHEAD, by Author C. Lee McKenzie, twelve-year-old Pete Riley thinks that he’s not a good wizard and he’s not a good kid. He seems to find trouble no matter what he does. When he accidentally unlocks a time lock, Pete and his friend Weasel find themselves in 1837 England with no clue how to return home.
I love the characters Pete and Weasel. They’re so real. Like normal kids, they make mistakes. Oh, as a wizard Pete is a bit different to most boys, adding more complications to his life. And, although I’m not normally a fan of alligators, Fanon is an exception. I wouldn’t mind having him for a pet. Descriptions of the places the boys visit are so vivid the reader, at least this reader, feels like she’s there, meeting the characters along with Pete and Weasel.
THE GREAT TIME LOCK DISASTER would be perfect for middle school libraries as well as your own library. I recommend this novel for readers that enjoy a good adventure story, with a bit of magic and characters you’d like to have as friends.
I haven’t read the first book in this series, but I didn’t feel left out. Pete Riley is such a great character and he proves that being a wizard isn’t easy. His friend Weasel is such a smart and cranky best friend to steer Pete on the right path. At least he tries to. These two together make quite the fun duo.
This book is a clever and entertaining MG novel. I’ve read a handful of C. Lee McKenzie’s books now and I’m never disappointed.
Pete Riley isn't very good at being an ordinary boy, but he's not much good at being a wizard either. Following the rules is pretty boring, and when he tries a time spell without permission, it goes all wrong. He unlocks a Time Lock and people start missing and turning up in centuries past and future. Pete and his friend Weasel fall back to Victorian England. They could be trapped there forever without video games and aunt Lizzie's pot roast if Pete can't figure out how to reverse the spell before the next full moon.
This sequel to ALLIGATORS OVERHEAD is even more fun than the first book. We are transported from the little swampy American town of Hadleyville to Victorian England. To the time of Queen Victoria's coronation to be exact. It's quite the different setting, especially for Pete and Weasel, and I loved seeing them out of their own time. Great atmospheric details but not overwhelming to the plot.
Pete is a normal boy in that his impatience gets him into trouble, except for the fact he's a wizard and the trouble that finds him is much bigger than ordinary kids'! I especially like Weasel as he's a kid that wouldn't go on any adventures except in books, but being friends with Pete has him living these thrilling experiences. I particularly liked meeting Margaret. I do hope we get to see more of her. And Dr. Dread Wraith. He's a great mystery!
I highly recommend C. Lee McKenzie's book to anyone that loves quirky MG urban fantasy. I do hope there's more coming in this series!
It seems so matter what Pete does he gets himself and his best friend, Weasel, into some kind of jam. But this time, Pete (who is a wizard in training) has also involved his familiar, who just happens to be a crocodile. And the problem isn't just that Pete's cast as spell he wasn't supposed to, he's unlocked time! Now, he and his friends are stuck in England, which wouldn't be too bad if it wasn't on the eve of Queen Victoria being crowned.
This is a great little adventure. But what I want to know is, will Pete finally learn his lesson and do as he's told? Or will his insatiable curiosity keep getting him into trouble?
Are there more adventures in store for Pete and Weasel, Ms McKenzie? Inquiring minds want to know.
The Great Timelock Disaster (now, that’s fine title for a middle grade book) is another terrific fantasy romp by author, C. Lee McKenzie. And setting a big chunk of the book in Victorian England? Yeah, that had me sold from the get-go. I’m not sure what I enjoyed more: the page-turning plot or the spot on dialogue and behavior of Peter and Weasel. Those two are such boys – I could see so many of my middle school students’ behaviors and conversations in McKenzie’s characters.
Pete wants so much to fix what he has messed up. He just keeps getting in his own way. Poor kid – I felt so bad for him. His self-doubts were so true to life. He really tugged at my heart. But, most of the time, I was chuckling at Weasel’s remarks; he is the prince of snarky remarks.
And Fanon. I must say, one of my favorite characters is an alligator. All I can say, without giving away too much of the plot, is that’s a good thing Pete has Fanon in his back field…er… back swamp.
This book would be a great addition to school libraries and classrooms. And kids don’t need to read the first book, Alligators Overhead, to enjoy this tale. Highly recommended.
I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
This is a fun little adventure with some magic and wonder thrown in. The characters were likable and the pacing was good. Minimal typos, thorough editing, and a fun plot made this an enjoyable story.
This was a good read but my review is based on this being a children's book because there were a few things that just wouldn't fly in an adult's book, but seeing as it's aimed at children it's probably not such a big deal. Some story inconsistencies niggled at me a bit, like trying to work out how big this alligator was if it could fit inside a carriage but could also knock over grown men... and a couple of others, but like I said, I don't think the intended audience would pick up on, or be bothered by, these kinds of issues.
Overall it was very enjoyable and if you're looking for a fun children's book, I definitely recommend this one.
C.Lee McKenzie has done it again! In this sequel to Alligators Overhead (which I thoroughly enjoyed), the dynamic duo, Pete and Weasel find themselves trapped in Victorian England. There's never a dull moment in this ongoing adventure, filled with laughter and plenty of magical moments, as the two boys encounter one crazy situation after another. Delightful!
The Great Timelock Disaster by C Lee McKenzie is an exciting adventure through time and history. Two young teenage boys overflowing with curiosity, a little fear, and a dogged determination to make things right get caught in a time travel experience to rival all-time travel experiences. Victorian England, the backdrop to a Charles Dickens novel, makes this book more than a delightful journey. It’s a mystery not easily solved. Despite the magic that got them to England, resolving the situation has to be done without using tricks. Throw in an alligator, and you’ve got major drama and intrigue enough for any reader, young or old. Pete Rily, a young man with no confidence in his magic skills, is afraid he’ll be found wanting by all adults. But he’s determined. And, like all youngsters, curiosity gets the better of him, and the drama begins. His best friend Weasel, a reluctant passenger on this new journey, is just what he needs to help him solve this mystery. I highly recommend this tale to readers of all ages.
This is a perfectly paced novel for younger readers of adventure. Throughout the book you will find that things don't always go to plan for Pete and his friend Weasel and that magic isn't always as easy as you might think.
At the very beginning of the book we find Pete struggling with his magic and while unsupervised accidentally unlocks time travel. While trying not to make things worse he and Weasel are suddenly transported back in time to Victorian England. With some guidance from Pete's family ancestors, they are on a quest to find Dr Dread Wraith in London without letting on that they are from the future and close the time lock. This is a time where they immediately realise they could never fit in, life was different for the poorer classes and the richer classes, with a huge social order to how people lived.
While on this quest they run into all kinds of trouble that could happen in England's past, luckily they make some friends along the way to give them a hand.
I found the little splashes of history interwoven into this adventure worked really well with both keeping the plot moving forward and to create an interesting background of the story. London in that era was very different from now and the level of danger on the streets in London added an extra element of risk to the quest.
Themes that popped up in this book besides magic and adventure and time travel was friendship and also confidence - through out the book Pete sometimes felt that he didn't belong as either a normal boy or a wizard boy. As the book progresses and more things went wrong he still felt this sense that it wouldn't have happened if he was better at being either of these two things. I cannot tell if it was 100% resolved as a personal issue (really could it ever be?) but I think it was accepted that he wasn't good yet, but in time.
Negative aspects may possibly be that I felt sometimes his friend Weasel wasn't really much of a friend but more a whiny companion. Their friendship didn't seem rock solid but maybe over time (more books possibly?) that will improve.
So overall the story paced well to keep younger readers interested and had an interesting location for the plot. To help the readers understand some characters that appeared such as Fannon the familiar it referred back to the first book without feeling like you received an entire recount.
8-10 year old me would have happily traded in a Baby Sitters Club book for this adventure read.
The Great Time Lock Disaster by C. Lee McKenzie is a charming, fast-paced middle grade novel with lots of magic and mayhem. Pete Riley is not a very good wizard. He has trouble with spells, and during a magic lesson with a witch named Harriet, he has so much trouble that he accidentally unlocks a Time Lock. Pete and his friend Weasel end up in England around the time of Queen Victoria’s coronation, and from there, they have to find out how to fix the spell and get back to their own modern time period. They also meet many fun characters in Victorian England, such as the determined and brave Margaret, and Dr. Dread Wraith, who bounds off the page with his electric personality. There’s also a talking alligator named Fanon, a witch named Mattie, and some interesting boys at The Spike, a home for children that Pete describes as stinky with bad food.
The Great Time Lock Disaster is the sequel to Alligators Overhead, which I did not read. In lieu of weaving backstory into the first chapter, C. Lee McKenzie took a creative approach by having Weasel, Pete’s best friend, provide some helpful information about the characters. After that, the book moves along at a fast pace, never straying from the plot and Pete’s quest to fix the Time Lock spell and get back home with Weasel. The writing is smooth and fun, and stays true to the intended age group. Pete was believable as a clunky wizard, and his friends all had unique personalities to the point where I could hear each character’s distinct voice. The initial landing in Victorian England via the graveyard gave a spooky edge to the story, especially right in the beginning. I knew from there I was in for a treat! I recommend the book to fans of children’s literature who enjoy fun, magic, and quirky characters.
I'd probably have liked this better if I'd read the first book, as I was not sure of some things, such as why alligators in this area can sort of talk and whether that's good or bad. The young wizards suitably can't work much real magic, but in that case, how come Pete manages to open a time tunnel to Victorian England?
Naturally once this occurs it's only a matter of time before Pete and his pal Weasel get sucked in and drawn to a dirty, impoverished life in the countryside near Oxford, from which they then travel to London. They are looking for a wizard of this era to help them get home. They don't have food or, as Pete says, TV or the internet. But since they don't heed the warnings about going off with strange men, they are promptly enslaved in a poorhouse where they are fed porridge and hired out to clean chimneys. Will they be stuck here for ever?
A nice note is that an apparently friendly alligator is also drawn in to the time tunnel and ends up in Regent's Park Zoo. Lot of use that will be to the boys, we think...
There's some good fun in this tale and some serious lessons about the past which remind us how lucky today's young people really are. If you like magic stories you'll certainly want to give it a try.
Poor Pete Riley! He's not a very good ordinary kid, and not a very good wizard either. At least that is what everyone tells him. So when he sneezes during a spell he wasn't supposed to be working on in the first place, time starts to warp, sweeping Pete & his friend Weasel to Victorian England.
I feel for Pete -- the poor kid exasperates his teacher & his friend, and they don't express any confidence in him. It all kind of spirals downward, until Pete doesn't feel like he can do anything right. And it is exactly that lack of confidence that gets him in trouble (again & again).
Luckily for Pete, his familiar -- a talking alligator named Fanon -- does believe in him, and this is the confidence boost that helps Pete in his toughest times.
This was a really enjoyable adventure suitable for middle school readers. Having a talking alligator as a familiar -- very ingenius!
The Great Time lock Disaster is the 2nd book in the series, and I had not read the first. But the author was smart, and included a very cute introduction so that when the story started, I knew what was going on.
If you are looking for a light-hearted & fun adventure, read this book.
After reading Alligators Overhead by C. Lee McKenzie I was excited to read the second book in the series, The Great Time Lock Disaster. Pete and Weasel’s story picked up right where they left off in the last book, which made it very easy to follow along. I liked traveling back in time with them and learning about what life was like in the 1800s. I definitely wouldn’t have wanted to eat the food they were given. I enjoyed the banter between Weasel and Pete, because Weasel seems a little unhappy with most of Pete’s decisions, and it was great to see that their relationship had not changed. I was glad that Weasel likes history, so he had some interesting things to see firsthand in the 1800s, even if he didn’t want to be there. This is a suspenseful book that also includes an underlying message about the trouble you could get into when you don't follow directions. This is a fun story for kids who like a good mystery and those who sometimes break the rules will be able to relate to Peter. I hope Pete and Weasel will have another adventure soon!
A magical and mysterious ride! Pete Riley is anything but a regular kid and has a hard time fitting in as a wizard-in-training when he accidentally whisks himself – and his best friend, Weasel – off to a strange place where they are launched into a race against time to return before they are stuck forever. This was a spooky fun adventure filled with creepy folks, loyal friends, on-the-run suspense --- all wrapped up in super cool time travel! I enjoyed reading about how the two friends, Pete and Weasel, dealt with not only being outside of their own country but also outside of their own time. The two friends are about as opposite as can be and this adds to the conflict and tension as they navigate dangerous events to get answers and get back home while helping save others. I had not had the chance to read book 1 first, ALLIGATORS OVERHEAD, but that was truly not necessary to enjoy and understand book 2.
What Happens When You Unlock Time? Read this fun middle-grade adventure and find out
I really enjoyed these characters. Pete is learning to be a wizard only he messes up a lot and like any kid is impatient and tends not wait or ask before he does something he knows not to do. His friend 'Weasel is the wise one and book smart. They balance each other very well. The name of the first book in this is series is what caused me, an adult, to grab a middle-grade book to read. It's called "Alligators Overhead" It was as interesting as it sounds.
The Timelock Disaster is no different. Lots of fun, magic gone-awry and time travel. I would highly recommend these books for kids. Lots of fun to read. Adults who enjoy a light fun adventure will enjoy reading them too, IMHO. Now I am ready to read Pete and Weasel's 3rd great adventure Sign of The Green Dragon. Can't wait.
I received a free copy from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
This book, though the sequel to Alligators Overhead, can be read on its own I would say as there were no real references to the first book and because of that it can stand on its own. It is about Weasel and Pete accidentally going back in time and therefore being confronted with various problems, the biggest one of course being how to get back to their own time.
This book was fun to read, really quick and light, but overall it felt very young and superficial to me - I did not see much character development nor depth in the story. But as it was this enjoyable entertaining read - it didn't bore me and I definitely didn't hate it - I decided to still rate it 3 stars.
I have not read the first book, but I was able to pick up this book and be involved in the storyline pretty easily! I received this book (#2) for free through Goodreads First Reads, and I'm glad I did. I won't give details of the book, since not everyone reading these reviews have read it. However, I would like to point out one thing that really stuck out to me. The main character in this book finds himself in trouble over and over again, and as a teenager or a young adult especially (but maybe even older crowds as well), that's something very relatable! As a teenager or a young adult, a lot of times, we feel like everything we do is wrong. C. Lee Mckenzie captures that emotion well through Pete and makes a great adventure out of the mistakes he makes!
First, a disclaimer. I received this book as part of the Goodreads first program. That being said, I liked the story, it is a young adult book following a boy and his friend on an adventure thru time to the late 1800's. While the boy is in the process of becoming a wizard, if you a looking for a Harry Potter doppleganger, he is not. This boy has issues and I don't mean that in a bad way, the lead character is finding his way and is somewhat lost as to his identity, similar to what I am sure many pre-teens are feeling while finding there way. I would suggest this book to those who enjoy a good adventure book with a hint of magic.
In this sequel to ALLIGATORS OVERHEAD, Pete Riley and his friend, Weasel, end up in the past because of a magical error. When Pete, wizard-in-training, messes up on a spell, they vanish to Victorian England. They sound funny, dress funny, and they’re not safe around pickpockets and other ruffians. They need to return to their time period, and fast. I loved book 1 and enjoyed this one even more. The English setting was authentic, and Pete and Weasel had a great voice. I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
This is the second in a series and I missed the first one, but this one was so compelling, I will definitely look for it! Pete is a kid who is training to be a wizard. He is not very patient but he really wants to do the right thing. He's also easily distracted, which for a magician, is probably not a good thing. He does some magic accidentally and ends up in some really big trouble. Not like time out trouble, like being trapped in the wrong century trouble. It was funny and exciting. I liked it a lot.
Although this is the second in a series and I haven't read the first, luckily that didn't hamper my enjoyment at all. Poor Pete is a rather hapless wizard in training whom is always getting into scrapes, needing the help of his friends to get out of them. Once I'd got over the fact that one of his friends is a talking crocodile I really enjoyed this fast paced adventure story. The Dickens overtones in Victorian London were particularly enjoyable for me. An excellent read for kids aged 8 and above.
This is one of those books that you definitely need to read the first book or you will feel lost as I did for much of the story. Pete Riley is having a hard time and the adults in his life are frustrated with the young wizard. This is an entertaining novel for young readers; the character and the plot will amuse and delight the reader.
3.75/5 STARS: **I want to thank the author and/or the publisher for providing a copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review; all opinions are mine.**