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The Time Hackers Library Binding – January 11, 2005
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From School Library Journal
Grade 4-7 - This fast-paced story talks of far-fetched ideas in seemingly ordinary terms, giving somewhat rational explanations for using laptops to travel through time. Dorso, 12, finds himself the brunt of time-travel-related practical jokes - he discovers dead bodies in his school locker, has a strange encounter with Beethoven, and watches as a woolly mammoth appears out of nowhere and throws his pal Frank across the yard. The boys try to figure out what is going on, and soon realize that the incidents are related to Dorso's laptop. When they start unexpectedly jumping back into history, they encounter two time travelers who are playing games with the historical time line through the use of a special chip implanted in their computers. One man tries to change the past, while the other attempts to stop him. The boys theorize that the chip must have also been implanted in Dorso's computer; that's how they get pulled into the game. However, the mystery is not completely solved until they encounter the engineer who designed the chip. The main characters come across as believable individuals - one boy is serious and the other wants to use time travel for "anatomical studies" (viewing naked women). The story should appeal to fans of Paulsen's The Transall Saga (Delacorte, 1998), as well as computer-game fans and reluctant readers. - Diana Pierce, Running Brushy Middle School, Cedar Park, TX
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Preloaded Digital Audio Player edition.
Gr. 5-8. Seventh-grader Dorso Clayman has a problem in his futurist world. Every time he opens his locker, he finds something from another time or place. He's determined to find out who is messing with the time continuum before a woolly mammoth tramples him, he's shot with an arrow at Wounded Knee, or, worse, the time fiddlers destroy the world. Luckily, his best friend, Frank (who uses conventional time-travel opportunities to spy out naked women from history), is on his side, and together they can set things right. Paulsen writes with his usual skill, creating believable characters and moving the action along at a fairly fast pace, but the spare story feels as if it should have been expanded into a longer novel, and explanations of the science concepts involved seem complicated for the target audience. Still, this has some fun moments. Try it with rowdy, adventure-loving readers and science-minded kids. It's hard to tell which audience will be the most receptive. Cindy Welch
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Preloaded Digital Audio Player edition.
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This is a sort of Hardy Boy mystery with a cool sci-fi slant that is sure to please any young boy who hungers for adventure!
Unfortunately, while this book is fluff, it isn't harmless. I'm no prude or fundamentalist. In fact, I consider myself to be a classical liberal, and I've spent 42 years reading both widely and deeply within the realm of English language literature, including my studies in grad school. Not that this fact means anything, other than I'm not some small-minded provincial, who doesn't understand that literature (at its best) is a look at the human condition.
And yet, it means something that I would even need to make such a dislaimer for what I'm about to say, and therein, perhaps, lies part of the problem.
I make a habit of reading the books my kids read. It doesn't take much time or effort (even one of the Harry Potter tomes is only a matter of a few hours) and it keeps me in touch, opening the door to many hours of enjoyable conversation with my children about an artform that is dear to my heart. Thus, when my daughter brought this book home, I picked it up and breezed through it.
After which I decided my daughter didn't need to be--in fact shouldn't be--subjected to a story in which the driving force behind one of the two main characters is his desire to see the famous women of history naked. Had this been something in passing, a quick gag, that would have been one thing. But this subplot literally comes up every few pages; it is, in fact, the very substance of the character in question.
I am well aware that the YA (or teen) category of fiction has long since mainstreamed sex as an explorable topic--but do we really want to sexualize elementary school students? Besides, this isn't even a positive sexual message. The character doesn't see these women as anything other than objects, their places in history notwithstanding.
Perhaps Paulsen thinks this character merely reflects reality. And to some degree he's probably correct. But is this really the place for that sort of reflection? Does it matter that my daughter (and many other people's daughters) might in some small way come to think of themselves as mere sex objects? Sexuality is wonderful, but it should not be the way girls--or boys, for that matter--judge their self worth.
Indeed, I've nothing whatsoever against human sexuality. (Once again, it seems strange that I should even feel the need to make such a disclaimer, lest my commentary be dismissed offhand--is that truly where we are as a society?) But there is a time and a place for everything. And what is essentially a chapter book aimed at elementary school kids is not the place for misogyny played for laughs.
That's one dad's opinion, anyway.
Most recent customer reviews
should read this book
(Personally I think this book deserves.2.5 stars