A Matter of Time

Sheri Cooper Sinykin, Author Marshall Cavendish Children's Books $14.95 (207p) ISBN 978-0-7614-5019-1
Sinykin (the Magic Attic Club series) observes all the conventions of the time-travel genre in this standard-issue escapade. Sworn off television for two weeks, boob-tube junkie Jody Anderson reluctantly agrees to play a game of Spymaster (a variation of hide-and-seek) with his father. The 11-year-old thinks that he has found the perfect hiding place in an old, broken TV set that once belonged to his grandmother, but the console turns out to be a time machine, spiraling him back to the 1950s. After landing in his father's childhood home, he is swiftly taken under the wing of Grandma Anderson (now transformed into a Leave It to Beaver-type housewife); in one of the more obvious gaps in narrative logic, Mrs. Anderson's intuition that Jody is ""special"" prevents her from reporting his sudden presence to the authorities. During his 88-hour stay in the past, Jody predictably gains insight into the older generation, realizing that his somewhat senile grandmother was once vigorous and perceptive, and that his strict father was a ""scallywag"" in his youth. Characters (with the exception of Jody's father) are simplistically drawn and details about the pre-Kennedy era (a time when men come home for lunch and boys get thrills chasing gophers) are idealized. All that rings true is Jody's regret over his grandparents' fates--not a big payoff for readers. Ages 8-12. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 05/04/1998
Release date: 05/01/1998
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