THE TIME BIKE by Jane Langton


Age Range: 10 - 12
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After 16 years of mostly mysteries for adults, Langton resurrects the Concord cast of Fragile Flag (1984) and its predecessors for a charming, if patchwork, time-travel tale. The expensive new bike that Eddy receives for his birthday is stolen, then replaced by an old-fashioned one from his royal Indian uncle. Meanwhile, local bank president Ralph Q. Preek has ordered Uncle Freddy and Aunt Alex to produce a vanished deed or vacate their rambling old house, and Eddy's older sister Eleanor is having fantods waiting for an in-crowd party invitation that never arrives. Once Eddy discovers that the old bicycle is a time machine, he, Eleanor, and his hamfisted friend Oliver each hare off into the past on ill-conceived adventures. Eleanor, for instance, wheels back to 1938 in a vain effort to save the life of movie star Derek Alabaster. Eddy, pushing off for Julius Caesar's time, ends up on a deserted beach after realizing too late that ancient Rome is far from Massachusetts in space as well as time. These parallel plot lines either dovetail in hyperconvenient fashion—a piece of paper that Eleanor just happens to pick up from the ground in 1938 turns out to be the missing deed—or trail away unresolved, creating a succession of loosely linked episodes but no unified story. Still, the major characters are easy to like (or, in Preek's case, despise), and the magical events are folded into the fabric of everyday life so neatly that they seem to belong there. (Fiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: June 30th, 2000
ISBN: 0-06-028437-4
Page count: 144pp
Publisher: HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1st, 2000


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