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|Back to Blackbrick|
Author: Fitzgerald, Sarah Moore
Cosmo's granddad used to be the cleverest person he ever knew. That is, until his granddad's mind began to fail. In a rare moment of clarity, his granddad gives Cosmo a key and pleads with Cosmo to go to the South Gates of Blackbrick Abbey, where his granddad promises an "answer to everything." Cosmo is taken to the past where he'll discover revealing truths about his granddad, his family, and himself.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 5.70
Points: 8.0 Quiz: 161946
Kirkus Reviews (-) (07/15/13)
School Library Journal (10/01/13)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (00/10/13)
The Hornbook (00/09/13)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 10/01/2013 Gr 5–8—Cosmo is not happy with his name, his mother, or the fact no one seems to be listening to his advice about how to help Granddad Kevin remember important things, such as the fact that Cosmo's brother is dead. Granny Deedee is overwhelmed by the social workers who are taking an interest in Granddad, and Cosmo's mother is away long term to pursue business in Sydney. This means that the boy isn't getting a lot of attention from anyone but the bullies on the playground. One night, Granddad Kevin advises Cosmo to go to Blackbrick Abbey and open a gate with a special key he gives him. Cosmo follows his instructions and inadvertently time travels back to when Granddad was just 16-year-old Kevin and worked as a stable boy for the wealthy but stingy owner of the Abbey. Not long after his arrival, Cosmo helps Kevin sneak a beautiful young woman into the Abbey. While Cosmo is sure from the love-stricken look on Kevin's face that this is Grandma, her name turns out to be Maggie, which means he has to intervene to ensure his existence. Adventures and contretemps ensue, making for a rollicking ride. Cosmo's fresh and sassy approach to life is true to his youthful perspective. His age is left intentionally vague (as is what happened to his father), and his voice engages. The solidly constructed time-travel plot adds to the fun.—Carol A. Edwards, Denver Public Library, CO - Copyright 2013 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 10/15/2013 Cosmo is dealing with a series of losses: his brother died accidentally, Mom left him with her parents, and now Grandpa Kevin has developed Alzheimer’s. In a moment of lucidity, Grandpa hands Cosmo a key to his boyhood home, Blackbrick Abbey, urging him to go there. The boy arrives (slipping back in time in the process) to find his grandfather as a 16-year-old house servant. Cosmo enjoys spending time with Kevin, but wonders if he can tweak the past in order to prevent some current problems. Fitzgerald’s debut is narrated in a breezy twenty-first-century style that keeps the story from becoming maudlin (“The first time Granddad peed in the dishwasher was when me and my gran realized we were going to have to make a few changes”). The plot depends heavily on coincidence, but Cosmo gleans much from the young Kevin and his time-slip experience, enabling him to return home able to accept Grandpa’s impending death. Pair with Mary Downing Hahn’s Time for Andrew (1994). - Copyright 2013 Booklist.