Britt, Paige. The Lost Track of Time
March 31st 2015 by Scholastic Press
E ARC from Edelweiss Above the Treeline
Penelope is very much overscheduled by her mother and father, who just want her to have as many possibilities as she can. On the first day of summer vacation, her mother presents her with a jam packed schedule where even fifteen minutes of free time is a rarity. Penelope would love to spend time just being, as well as hanging out with quirky older neighbor Miss Maddie, drinking tea, and thinking about books that she might someday write. One day, when the calendar pages have stuck together and she has nothing scheduled, she goes to visit Miss Maddie... and falls into the calendar into the Realm of Possibilities. There, trying to figure out what is going on, she meets Dill, who is looking for the Great Moodler, who is the only one who can fight off Chronus, who is turning everyone into Clockworkers. Penelope comes down with worry warts, fights off the Naughty Woulds and Wild Bore, and discovers that Chronus is trying to dissolve the Range of Possibilities, endangering the Coo-Coos. She and Dill end up thrown into prison, where they meet the Timekeeper, and only through trickery (and some inspiration from the Great Moodler herself) are they able to keep Dill from being "pressed for time" and save the Realm of Possibilities from Chronus' evil grasp. Penelope is able to translate her adventures into strength in dealing with her parents and demanding some time for herself.
Strengths: The comparisons with The Phantom Tollbooth are inevitable; this is almost like a sequel (about time instead of words and numbers) or a re imagining of that classic. That said, I have to reluctantly admit that as a story, this holds together much better. There's more character development, the different creatures Penelope meets advance the plot a bit more, the tie-in with Penelope's life is more profound. Even the pictures are more appealing to me. Really well-written book, and extremely clever.
Weaknesses: A bit preachy. Maybe Penelope's parents are dissuading her from becoming a writer because they really do love her and want her to have a remunerative job when she grows up!
What I really thought: I would have adored this beyond belief if someone had handed it to me when I was 12, and my job prospects might be even more unstable than they are. I enjoyed this, but felt conflicted-- I just don't know if I have readers for this. This might be the one book I buy this year that will get checked out only once a year.
Potter, David. The iPhone that Saved George Washington
January 6th 2015 by Crown Books for Young Readers
ARC from Baker and Taylor's Common Core Collection
I adore time travel books, but this one seemed a bit slow, wordy, and long. Not only that, but who knows how long iPhones will be around, so there is also the issue of the book becoming dated. As much as I like historical fiction and time travel, my students are not fond of either, so I will pass. Definitely take a look at this, however, if those things go over well in your library.
Percy Jackson fans will embrace this humorous time travel adventure, the first in a series, about an iPhone malfunction that sends three kids back to 1776 in time to rescue George Washington.
On Christmas Day, Mel finds General George Washington lying dead as a doornail in a stable. But Mel knows that George Washington must cross the Delaware River, or the course of American history will be changed forever.
Could Mel’s iPhone have sent him back in time to 1776? And can Mel and his schoolmates, know-it-all Bev and laid-back Brandon, come to the rescue? Perhaps, with a little help from two colonial kids and Benjamin Franklin himself.
Debut novelist David Potter cleverly combines time travel, humor, and American history in this fast-paced adventure. For American Revolution enthusiasts, there's information about historical reenactments, additional reading, and websites.