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Summary: Jack Carter was to deliver a speech at his grandfather’s 93rd birthday party. Instead, he set sail for Penikese Island. While waiting for the tide to change, Jack fell asleep and awoke in 1904. In his effort to return home, he meets family ancestors who help him back to Marion, as well as understand how selfish and immature his behavior was and how much he owed his family and community. With all that said, he was still trapped in Marion, 1904. Would he be able to get back? How? This is an adventure story where the protagonist travels through time.
Type of Reading: bedtime story, independent reading, read aloud book
Recommended Age: read together: 9 to 12; read yourself: 10 and Up
Young Reader Reaction: This book is a real gem and should be considered a minor classic. It is impressive that the story uses the science fiction convention of time travel not as an end in itself, but to to explore the deeper and more fulfilling themes of family and friendship.
Adult Reader Reaction: Adkins is writing about things he loves and knows innately. Unfortunately, the general readership is not at his level and therefore the detail is not exciting. It slows the reader down and requires a thesaurus to enjoy.
Pros: This is a good story plus. Jack Carter could be Tom Sawyer or Huck Finn. The adventures are believable and more importantly, are unobtrusive lessons in respect for people, pride in craftsmanship, responsibility to one’s community. One of the pleasures of this story is that it is filled with facinating details about what life was like in the Masachusetts Bay area, 1904; everything from how boats were built without power tools, how funerals were conducted, to what kind of toilet paper people used. Also, significantly, how people seemed less able to talk about and express their feelings.
Cons: The location of the story and the story itself revolve around the water, building and sailing boats, and appreciating all things nautical. Sometimes the jargon, comfortable for a Yankee, is a bit awesome to a land lubber! The front cover illustration and the way the book is bound gives the unfortunate impression that this is a book only for young children. It is not; it is a book for anyone and everyone.
Borrow or Buy: Buy. This is worthwhile for the 12- to 14 year-old who likes boats and sailing. It will also resonate with readers who like
Educational Themes: All of us are shaped by history. Sometimes, we forget how important the contributions of the past are to ourselves, our families, and communities. The "time warp" mechanism could generate interesting and exciting creative writing projects.
Literary Categories: fiction - adventure, science fiction, boats, life lessons, time travel, family, friendship, 1800s