Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Time Pirate

Bell, Ted. The Time Pirate.
This sequel to Nick of Time finds Nick McIver saving the day again-- and in several different time periods. We start out in 1940 in the British Channel islands. Nick has found a Sopwith Camel his father flew back from WWI in a barn, and with the help of Gunner, he restores it. And just in time. The Nazis are invading the islands, and Nick manages to take out most of their planes and a munition dump with homemade bombs in a harrowing bombing mission that ultimately destroys the plane. When Nick gets back home, he finds out that Billy Blood has traveled in time and kidnapped Nick's feisty sister Kate, hoping to lure Nick and steal his time travel machine. Nick is, of course, too clever for this, and not only rescues his sister but finds out about Blood's plan of gathering an army of pirates and interfering in the Revolutionary War. Since this interference leads to the British winning the war and the US not coming into existence, and since Nick knows that the US aid helps the British during WWII, he travels back in time to visit George Washington and helps General LaFayette foil Blood's plans, even though he feels traitorous in doing so. Since it is still only 1940, I'm sure there will be several sequels on their way. After all, they were foolish enough not to kill Blood while they could!

This took me several days to read, since it is a whopping 454 pages. Still, the writing was sharp enough that I was able to recall the plot clearly, and students will adore the fact that Nick, at age 12, is the one repeatedly saving the day with his heroic derring-do. The back cover recommends this for fans of Harry Potter, which is not the students to whom I would hand this-- it's clearly more for fans of war fiction. That said, Nick of Time has been most popular with students who like war books AND fantasy. It's difficult enough that it requires a strong reader, but once students finish this, they may be persuaded to try Treasure Island.

I enjoyed this much more than I thought I would, and am almost tempted to try Mr. Bell's adult novels to see if they might be appropriate for middle schoolers. Warlord looks interesting. "Verve and swashbuckling panache"! I need to work that phrase into some conversation!


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