Winslow Press, Manufactured by, Barbara Robertson, Author . Winslow $4.95 (96p) ISBN 978-1-890817-55-8

This plodding first installment of The Hourglass Adventures centers on a girl who is the sixth generation of her family to be named Rosemary. On her 10th birthday, Rosemary Rita heads to the post office to pick up 10 numbered boxes from her grandmother, Rosemary Regina ("The clerk's eyes crinkled with pleasure as she pushed package after package across the counter"). Her grandmother's note explains that the boxes contain postcards and other objects that belonged to previous Rosemarys and instructs the birthday girl not to open the last box. The curious child opens it anyway and finds an antique hourglass. Holding a postcard dated 1870, Rosemary Rita turns over the hourglass and is transported to Berlin, where she meets her great-great-great-grandmother—the recipient of the postcard—as a 10-year-old. The rather anticlimactic "adventure" that the two share involves their decoding of the message on that very postcard, sent by Rosemarie's older brother, who is traveling in France in the midst of the Franco-Prussian War. Frequently flat dialogue and strained plot contrivances weigh down the story. Footnote-like prompts throughout the book direct readers to the publisher's Web site, where they can find activities and additional information about the characters and their era. Rosemary Rita hooks up with her great-great grandmother in Rosemary in Paris: Back to 1889, the series' simultaneously released second volume. Ages 8-12. (May)

Reviewed on: 05/28/2001
Release date: 05/01/2001
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