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Timothy Mean and the Time Machine by William A E Ford and Marcelo Simonetti #BookReview

With Timothy Mean’s amazing imagination and time machine, anything and anywhere is possible!

Join Timothy on a magical rhyming adventure as he skips through time and pranks with pirates, gets daring with dragons, and even teases a T-Rex!

“It’s Monday. Hip hip hooray! Where shall we travel in time today?

With Timothy Mean, every day is a rhyme in time!

Title: Timothy Mean and the Time Machine | Author: William A E Ford, Marcelo Simoetti | Publisher: Self-published | Pub. Date: 17th January 2019 | Pages: 24 | ISBN:
9781730758072 | Genre: Science Fiction Picture Book | Language: English | Triggers: None | Rating: 3 out of 5 | Source: We received a copy from the author for review consideration

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Timothy Mean and the Time Machine Review

‘Timothy Mean and the Time Machine’ is a picture book for younger children about a young boy adventuring through time. Each day he visits a different time period and gets up to mischief. The book features dinosaurs, Vikings, dragons (?), the moon and other things bound to appeal to kids. The story is told in rhyming verse that’s designed to be read by parents to their little ones.

The first thing that struck me about the book is how good the illustrations are. They’re richly detailed, colourful, vibrant and fun. They make the book something of a delight to flip through, each page has something new to enjoy and I’m sure kids will have fun exploring them with Timothy. In fact, unusually, the cover of the book isn’t as good as the artwork within it. Unfortunately, the quality of the writing in the book isn’t as high as that of the artwork.

As a father, I’ve read countless story books aloud to my son. Those days are past now (which makes me feel a little sad and nostalgic), but all those bedtimes taught me that there is a real talent to writing books that are fun to read aloud. Unfortunately, the verse here just doesn’t flow smoothly enough. Odd rhymes abound and the lines don’t always scan properly. It makes all makes for a less pleasurable reading experience than it could have been.

The other problem I had with the book, is that the protagonist, Timothy, is as mean as his name suggests. He plays cruel pranks in each of the time zones he visits, with little apparent motive beyond random cruelty. I think this kind of thing can be fun in children’s books, but only if the victims of the pranks are shown to be deserving of the cruelty. Roald Dahl’s books are such enduring classics because they give their child heroes licence to take comedically horrible revenge on adults. By comparison, the pranks in ‘Timothy Mean’ feel random and unnecessarily malicious.

This is a book of two halves, then. The artwork is joyous, the writing less so. Between the two it’s still entertaining enough, and I can see it appealing to some kids, even if it doesn’t reach the bar set by the likes of Julia Donaldson.  

You can find this book at many retailers via clicking on the appropriate link on Goodreads (Buying direct from retailers is a good way to support indie authors); however, in the spirit of supporting literacy programs, we would like to point out that you may be able to purchase this book through BetterWorldBooks.

Published inKids Science FictionUnstarred Reviews
©Sci-Fi & Scary 2019
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