Kirkus Reviews QR Code
LONDON CALLING by Edward Bloor

LONDON CALLING

By Edward Bloor

Age Range: 9 - 13

Pub Date: Sept. 26th, 2006
ISBN: 0-375-83635-7
Publisher: Knopf

John hates All Souls Preparatory School, where he’s tormented by Hank Lowery, great-grandson of General “Hollerin’ Hank” Lowery, a WWII hero. Or was he? John’s older sister, revising the article on Lowery for her job at an encyclopedia, suspects otherwise. John holds the answer—in a radio bequeathed to him by his grandmother that turns out to be a time-travel device that takes him to the home of a boy named Jimmy in 1940s London. With Jimmy, John observes Lowery at the U.S. Embassy, during the events that precede and follow Jimmy’s death. Then he can answer the question Jimmy puts to him: “What did you do to help?” Helping involves a lot of research on Lowery and the Blitz, and a trip to London to find Jimmy’s aging father. Sound complicated and unwieldy? Just add overtones of religion (Is Jimmy an angel? What does God want of John?) and alcoholism (John’s father) and you’ve got an ungainly mess. The history and ethics are fascinating but are treated to a shallow ending, and though the characters are compelling, the dropped threads will make readers tune out. (Fiction. 9-13)