Publisher: d a half - and about to make historyWhen Tilly's dad builds a time machine in the shed there's only one place she really wants to go back to her sixth birthday partyWhen she ate too many cupcakes and her mummy was still hereTilly's dad gets stuck in the past and only she can save himAdrian Edmondson is well-known for his roles in The Young Ones, and Bottom, which he wrote with his long-term comedy partner, the late Rik Mayall He recently starred in the BBC's adaptation of War and Peace and won Celebrity Masterchef in 2013 His first adult novel, The Gobbler, was published in 1996 He has three daughters with his wife - actress, screenwriter and comedian Jennifer Saunders - and lives in London
Age Range: 10-14 Middle/Secondary
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Adrian Edmondson’s debut is a heartening drama and describes the adventures of Tilly and her father, a crack-pot scientist.
After the sad loss of her mummy, Tilly lives with her dad on a deserted street in a small house. Her dad is rather unconventional; he encourages Tilly to save time by leaping out of windows instead of taking the stairs, for example. He is also very clever, and builds a working time machine in the garden shed!
Unfortunately, the time machine is somewhat flawed, and very soon Tilly’s dad is missing, somewhere in history. Tilly is forced to confront the contraption and to take a trip through time to try and find him. This results in encounters with a famous admiral, a grieving queen and a hapless German goalkeeper – and Tilly is able to help all of them. Meanwhile, in the present, Her Majesty’s Government are taking a keen interest in Tilly’s dad’s machine, and the last thing Tilly needs is strange men knocking at her door asking to see her missing father.
Readers will stick with Tilly till the very end (or the beginning, depending on whether she can get the time machine working). Her naïve optimism and positivity are very charming and she is always willing to make time for others, even when her own situation is dire. Edmondson handles moments of loss and grief sensitively, inviting readers to share Tilly’s feelings and reminding them of the importance of remembering loved ones.
The story also has some funny moments, and the humorous tone is well-accompanied by Danny Noble’s delightfully unsophisticated line drawings. For many young readers, the real draw of this book will be the opportunity to read more about famous characters from history. However, though Tilly’s adventures through time are good fun, they are rather short-lived, and history lovers will feel slightly under-satisfied by the brief nature of Tilly’s meetings with famous faces from the past.
It is the relationship between Tilly and her enigmatic father that provides the most enjoyable moments in this book and readers will be interested to hear if Tilly’s dad has any other inventions in the shed that might lead to more adventures.