Reviews /

Time Travelling with a Tortoise

Authored by Ross Welford
Published by HarperCollins Publishers

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Time Travelling with a Tortoise is the sequel to Time Travelling with a Hamster, Ross Welford’s bestselling debut book. Although this book could be read alone, I would definitely recommend any reader to read the first story before tackling the sequel.

The plot is ingenious, intriguing, and thought-provoking, concerning, as it does, time travel through multi-universes, a dinosaur chase, and life and death. The Sunday Times reviewer suggested that ‘where you most belong is in your own unaltered life story, with all its troubles, rather than in parallel narratives. An adventure with humour, well-observed family life, improbable friendships and a warm heart’ and it is this exploration of humanity, friends and family that lies at the heart of the story. The book picks up from where its predecessor ended, although it quickly becomes apparent that time travel is not a simple affair. As one small thing is changed in the past, huge implications develop in the future, and there were occasions when I had to stop reading and have a ‘hard think’!

The main character, Al Chaudhury, is a clever, funny 12-year-old boy caught in a complicated web of relationships with his parents, grandfather, stepsister, and a bully/friend, made even more tricky to navigate as a result of the issues caused by his interference with time. The climax of the story, when Al meets another version of himself, was thoroughly gripping, not to mention, amusing. The blend of scientific concepts and philosophical quandaries kept me engaged and fascinated throughout and I’m sure younger readers will love the scenes with some scary dinosaurs.

I would recommend this book as an addition to a school or class library and, of course, as a suggestion for further reading for children of 9 years and above who enjoyed the first book. The underlying concept may well prove fascinating for young readers to discuss and could provide the basis for some fabulous creative writing.