Friday, June 15, 2018

Time Tracers: The Stolen Summers

36099474Bondor-Stone, Annabeth and White, Connor. Time Tracers: The Stolen Summers
May 1st 2018 by HarperCollins
E ARC from Edelweiss Plus

Taj and his friends are super excited for summer, and have a whole plan of "chills and thrills" worked out-- swimming, junk food fests, hanging out. Taj alsowants to be a good brother to his young sister Zoe and spend time with her. When Taj wakes up on the first day of summer, his mother informs him that it's time for school. Originally thinking she's fooling around, Taj is very confused, especially when he gets to school and none of his friends have very good memories of what happened during the summer. Before too long, Taj meets Eon, who informs him that the summer has actually been stolen, and only Taj can help get it returned. He meets Father Time, deals with time stealing bug-like creatures who hang out in all of the fun places and steal time, and gets to be a dancing mascot at a baseball game. It turns out that Taj has even more special powers, so when the Time Tracers uncover a diabolical plot launched by one of their own, it's up to Taj to save the day.
Strengths: This had a fantastic premise, was definitely action-packed, and had lots of gross and funny moments of time stealers barfing up time and other sorts of things. The world building is solid, and the places that time is stolen are believable. My students will really like this one. It has a Game Over, Pete Watson sort of vibe.
Weaknesses: This almost moved too quickly for me, and I wanted a little more character development, which rarely happens. The ending also seemed wrong to me.
What I really think: The Stolen Summers is an engaging, if frenetic, speculative fiction book that will be an easy sell for my students, even if it is not my favorite.

35604045Edith and Pearce, Phillipa. Tom's Midnight Garden.  (1958)
April 3rd 2018 by Greenwillow Books
Public Library Copy

You either know and love the Tom's Midnight Garden or you don't. I do. It was another one of the few books I managed to acquire as a child, and I kept it for many years. I keep the school library one around, too, although it's a prebind that's getting pretty nasty. I approached the graphic novel version with distrust.

It's not bad. The text seems very true to the original, at least what I remember. The language is a bit stilted at times. The illustrations made me see the outside of the house as it was in 1958 and as it was when Hatty was a girl in a way I hadn't envisioned them before. Not knowing how English houses, and English towns, were set up when I first read the book put me at a disadvantage. The illustrations help. They also somehow removed me a bit from Tom's thoughts, since it's hard to draw what people are thinking and feeling.

Part of me wants to buy this for my school collection. I have Dan Jolly's graphic novel of O.T. Nelson's 1975 The Girl Who Owned the City, and it has increased the circulation of the original (and also prebound) version. I'm just not sure. All too often, children pick up the graphic novels, flip through them for 20 minutes, and return them. This is a picture book sized volume, and there was something about the color palette that wasn't quite right. I think it was that the same one was employed for both time periods. It's sort of a drab greeny yellow that would be good for the modern day, but I then wanted something prettier for Hatty's era. Interesting to read if you're a fan, but I'm still debating.


  1. Maybe consider buying a new copy of the original if it’s still in print. New covers can make a huge difference, as I found when I bought new copies of our battered Narnia books. Graphic novels - you’re right. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t. You know what works for your own library users.

  2. The book is indeed in print and our library system has copies of the 60th anniversary edition.