Time Jumpers: Stealing the Sword, by Wendy Mass, for Timeslip Tuesday

Time Jumpers: Stealing the Sword, by Wendy Mass (August 2018), is the start of a new series in the Scholastic Branches line, aimed at kids just beginning to read easy chapter books independently.  It's the story of two siblings, Chase and Ava, who we meet in a flea market where they are helping sell their mom's art.  Exploring the flea market, they spot an old suitcase that has a strange appeal for them...and the manager of that stall lets them have it for nothing.  An angry man comes demanding that she give him that very suitcase, but she stands her ground and claims she doesn't know what he's talking about.

Clearly, it is a special piece of luggage....and when Chase and Ava open it, they find an array of strange objects, one of which looks like a dragon-headed doorknob.  When it almost flies into Chase's hand, the two kids find themselves whisked back in time to the court of King Arthur!

All is not well back in the past; Merlin and the King are both in trouble, and the same angry man from the flea market is back in the past as well, and seems just as angry....  But the dragon-headed doorknob (which is Not a doorknob!) is just what it needed to save the day.

It is a perfectly fine story for what it is; it's meant for an audience still not quite ready for the Magic Tree House book (I actually found the writing, on a very basic work level, more interesting than Magic Treehouse, but I am scarred for life by having to listen to MTH books on audio where the fact that it is "….said Jack" and …."said Annie" over and over is inescapable).   The siblings are supportive of each other, and though there's not quite enough time for them to become fully developed characters, Mass does quite bit in that direction, rather skillfully.  The addition of the sinister bad guy adds interest to the story, and a mystery that is yet to be resolved.  

So it's fine, like I said, and the illustrations on every page will help kids still acquiring reading conviction enjoy the book.

But as a fan of time travel and medieval fiction...it was disappointing.  We don't get any educational value out of the time travel experience; there's almost no detail about the past, except that this being King Arthur's court, there are tapestries and knights and stone walls....And of course it's not even a real past, though never does the story acknowledge that this high medieval King Arthur is just a story.  I feel Wendy Mass could have pushed her word limit to get a bit more history in there....Oh well.

1 comment:

  1. I like the idea of the story, but I will probably skip the audio version. Thanks for telling me about it.


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