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Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 06/01/2012 Gr 4–6—Ten-year-old Alex Trumble loves to learn about new ideas through old books, and he frequently contemplates time travel. After two men nearly kidnap him and successfully nab his older brother, Alex builds a time-travel machine to go back in time and foil the villains. He uses equations he finds in an old book at the public library, mirrors, a laser pointer, his iPod, and an acceleration device put together by a street mechanic named Psycho. Alex's first endeavor sends his dog back to prehistoric times, which Alex and his friend Todd discover during their class trip to the Field Museum. Alex returns home and sends himself back in time to the day before Stephen was kidnapped; Todd follows him, and a lively narrative describes their efforts to change the outcome of events. The third-person narrator is revealed to be Alex's father, who is an aspiring author. Early chapters of this book are heavy with descriptions and ruminations about Alex and his life; the story becomes more engaging as the plot advances and characters develop with more action and dialogue. Pencil sketches provide breaks in the text. Science-fiction aficionados who are able to wrap their minds around the logistics of going back in time to alter the present and future may find this book intriguing.—Laura Scott, Farmington Community Library, MI - Copyright 2012 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Bulletin for the Center... - 07/01/2012 In the hands of fifth-grade genius Alex Trumble, a few mirrors, a laser pointer, and a souped-up iPod combine to become a portable time machine that allows its owner to traverse the space-time continuum. Good thing, too, because Alex is desperate to alter a past that has his brother kidnapped by henchmen from the future, his parents devastated, and his present self pursued by the bad guys who took his brother, who did so to prevent Alex from inventing the time machine at all. It’s all a bit confusing, but suffice to say that two hundred years from now, a maniacal general has taken over the world and sent the only person that could stop him back to Alex’s time, and Alex’s time machine returns the man to the future where he defeats the general, making Alex a target for the general’s revenge across the paths of time and space. Time-travel logic can be confusing, and Cohen lays it all on a bit thick here, brandishing contradictory theories and technical jargon with little contextualization and whole lot of vague, incongruous explanations to back it up. The threat, however, is real enough in the form of the brutish thugs chasing Alex, and the fifth-grader’s ability to quickly assess the situation and act accordingly, often with astoundingly successful results, will make him a hero among certain readers. Hard sci-fi buffs will want to get their time-travel fix elsewhere, but readers who like their protagonists to have all the answers-even if those answers are a bit convenient-will enjoy finding an expert in Alex. KQG - Copyright 2012 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.