FICTION

Diary of a Time Traveler

illus. by Nicholas Stevenson. 64p. index. Wide Eyed Editions. Oct. 2015. Tr $22.99. ISBN 9781847807045.
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Gr 3–5—This quick overview of history uses a fictional framing story to explore different eras. After Augustus tells his teacher that he finds history boring, Professor Tempo gives him a notebook that takes the two of them on a journey through history, starting with a scene of ancestors discovering fire and ending with Neil Armstrong landing on the moon. The book is filled with spreads that contain a few paragraphs of introductory information and some amusing facts. There's a geographic and ethnic balance of prehistoric and ancient history, but by the time Augustus and Professor Tempo reach the Renaissance, most of the periods covered are either European or American. The illustrations are childlike, as though created by Augustus, and have a vibrant energy. The boy's first-person narration, however, isn't as well executed. Though the author strives for the conversational tone of an elementary school student, the results are contrived. The dialogue bubbles do a far better job of providing interesting tidbits.
VERDICT Though not exhaustive enough to satisfy students doing reports, this title provides a basic overview and may get readers interested in pursuing certain areas in more depth. Browsers may also enjoy this amusing romp through the highlights of human history.

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