Time Traveling with a Hamster

For his 12th birthday, British-Indian Al (Albert Einstein Hawking Chaudhury, to be precise) gets a huge surprise when his mother gives him a letter from his deceased dad. It says: "You are about to learn, Al, how to travel in time." Could it really be possible to travel back in time and stop the fateful childhood go-kart accident that eventually killed his father? Either way, Al will have to tend to his other birthday surprise, too: a baby hamster named Alan Shearer.

The thought of having his dad back again gets Al so excited it makes him "feel a bit sick." But part of him senses that the journey through time may be a "truly epically bad idea." Before Al can even consider warping the space-time continuum, he'll have to retrieve his father's time machine that's still at their old house, 10 miles down the English coast. In a fresh, funny, first-person voice, Al describes a series of schemes involving "borrowing" Grandpa Byron's mauve moped and getting help from his snarky gothed-out stepsister, Carly, by promising a séance.

The plot of Time Traveling with a Hamster bears a passing similarity to the '80s film Back to the Future, but debut author Ross Welford's spin on it is impressively sophisticated. He addresses time travel's complicated questions head-on, including the grandfather paradox, the butterfly effect and the question of whether the same person can exist twice in the same moment. Al's devotion and bravery, together with the message that a kid can make a difference for a beloved adult, will grab tweens and young teens by the heartstrings. --Jaclyn Fulwood, lead librarian at Del City Public Library, Okla.

Powered by: Xtenit