|ARC complements of Random House|
Albert Einstein Hawking Chaudhury (what a great name!) twelfth birthday was not what he expected. He receives two special birthday gifts. The first one is a hamster he names Alan Shearer. The second is a letter from his deceased father. Al’s father died when he was eight, so it is a bit unexpected. What is in the letter is even more peculiar. It describes how he needs to get his dad’s time traveling machine and return to 1984, so he can prevent the go-kart accident that eventually causes his dad’s demise.
Time traveling is not as easy as expected, and messing with time has consequences. Al meets his dad, and grandpa. Has to steal, break into houses, and lies to hopefully safe his dad. I’m not going to tell you more because a little more gives a lot away.
The other night at dinner I told my nephew I was reading a book called Time Traveling with a Hamster. I was telling him about the book and he replied, “Why do so many books have a back story where the parents die in a tragic car crash?” I told him he was jumping the gun. I never said there was a car crash, but that his dad had a go-kart accident 30 years ago and that caused the death. He seemed more interested. For the record this 10-year-old boy reads numerous books where the parents have tragic deaths, so his concerns lack merit! I’ll be interested to hear his reaction to the book.
Anyway, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Ross Welford is a master at capturing the reader and keeping us on the edge of our seat. He pulls at our heartstrings with scenes involving a loving grandfather and grieving grandson. He makes us laugh with scenes of Al “borrowing” his grandpa’s scooter to get to his old house so he can steal the time machine. He makes it difficult to put down this enjoyable book.
Random House has this as a book for ages 8-12. I would say closer to the older range. There is nothing shocking or too upsetting, but I think higher readers and more mature readers will enjoy it more. It would be a great Guys Read Book Club book if the group is mostly 10-12 year old boys.
I did use the book to model how to “think about my reading”. I showed my third graders how I had questions while I was reading. I even showed them a YouTube video about the Geordie dialect because I wasn’t sure what it was.
Like I wrote earlier, I am excited to see what Levi thinks of this book. I will have to see if he will fit it to his reading. He is currently rereading the Potter series. Maybe he will take it to school and read it there. If that happens I will never see the copy again because he passes it around to the other fourth graders.