Saturday, June 14, 2008
Stand And Deliver
I can take time travel books or leave them. The mechanics of getting a character from one time period to another require a willing suspension of disbelief that I can only muster up if there's a good story to go along with it. Jack Bolt and the Highwaymen's Hideout by Richard Hamilton did the trick for me. And, according to its publisher, it's written for 7- to 9-year olds, making it a book for that younger reader I've been so interested in this past year.
Jack Bolt is visiting Granny when Lord Henry Vane, gentleman highwayman, and his sidekick cut through the wall, thinking they've merely found some kind of hiding place off a room that no longer exists in Jack's time. When they learn they've been transported 150 years into the future, they couldn't be happier. What better place to store loot than the future?
Fortunately, Lord Henry is, as I said, a gentleman highwayman. He's also one of those colorful, over-the-top characters who sometimes appear in children's books. While kid characters should be the center of attention in children's fiction, these adult scene-stealers work if they are somewhat child-like themselves. And poor Lord Henry is. He's a Prodigal Son who turned to robbing after he spent all his inheritance. The guy lives with his old nanny.
Lord Henry comes forward into the future, where he is an entertaining fish-out-of-water. Jack goes backward into the past, where he helps Lord Henry clean up his act.
The book has plenty of illustrations, a good adventure, and, best of all, there doesn't appear to be any chance of a sequel.