Timeslip Tuesday is a feature at Charlotte's Library. Today, we have a new and an old time travel book. Memo to self: never peruse the lists of "Time Travel Books from the 1970s" on Goodreads. I ended up buying the Pfeffer title because I HAD to read it!
Sales, Leila. Once Was a Time
April 5th 2016 by Chronicle Books
Copy received from the publisher
Lottie is growing up in England at the start of World War II. Her father is a scientist who is working for the government and thinks that he can unravel the secret of time travel. Lottie spends a lot of time with her friend Kitty, and the two are together when enemy agents kidnap Lottie and her father in order to get secrets out of him. Things look dire, and when Lottie sees a shimmering portal open, she dives through it, leaving Kitty and her father behind. She ends up in modern day America, and is helped by a boy named Jake, who takes her to the library. She sleeps there for a couple of days before being found out by Ms. Timms, the librarian, who hands her over to children's services. Lottie ends up with a very nice couple, Melanie and Keith, who have a grown daughter. They get her settled in and off to school, where she meets Sydney, Dakota, and Kiana, who are all popular girls. They are enthralled by her accent and quaint ways, but think that Jake is a geek and discourage Lottie from talking to him. Oddly enough, the three girls are just the type of students who would have bullied Lottie in her own time, but she sticks with the group in order to have friends with whom to hang out. She finds herself dragged into all manner of activities she would rather not do-- she'd rather hang out at the library with Ms. Timms. After finding a postcard from Kitty in the library copy of Burnett's A Little Princess, Lottie is determined to make her way to Italy to find Kitty. Jake's family happens to be going, so Lottie takes the money she has earned for working at the library for a number of years, begs Melanie and Keith to let her go, and sets out to find her friend, and also to try to uncover the secret of how she time traveled.
Strengths: This is a charming book not only about time travel, but about friendship. Lottie's struggles are dealt with realistically, and even her trip to Italy is believable. It is very different from other time travel books I've read, but I can see it being popular with readers who enjoyed Saunders' Beswitched or Farmer's Charlotte Sometimes. I wonder if that's why the main character is named Charlotte?
Weaknesses: I can't think of many books where people travel from other times to the present, and it's not the sort of time travel I would prefer to do!
What I really think: This book really stuck with me. I enjoyed Lottie's experiences in the modern times more than I thought I would, and was pleased with her quest for Kitty. I think it might be hard to find tween readers for this, however. Time travel books don't circulate well in my library, more's the pity.
Pfeffer, Susan Beth. Rewind to Yesterday
August 1st 1988 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Kelly and her twin brother are fascinated when their father finally comes home with a VCR. They can watch one program while taping another! It's like magic! They know it's an expensive machine, and their father doesn't want them to break it, but Kelly still fools around with it late at night... and finds out that she can travel back in time when there's no tape in the machine. She shares this information with her best friends Miri, and the two conduct some experiments. They try to hide this from Scott, but he finds out as well, and the three debate whether they should try to sell the machine to the government. When Miri's grandfather is shot at his convenience store and the prognosis isn't good, the children try to travel to the past to prevent the shooting from occurring, then realize that meddling with events isn't a good idea.
Strengths: Fun look at a technology that has come and gone. I love the font-- why doesn't that font mean "technology" anymore? Also, the giant television and bathrobes. I think that there are some cords missing on the back, though. Where are the red, yellow and white VGA cables?
Weaknesses: Has horribly dated interior illustrations, and the book ends rather abruptly, with no real conclusion.
What I really think: Might be fun to have in the library when we do books from different decades.