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A Tale of Time City
Diana Wynne Jones
Original copyright 1987, our edition 2012, 334 pages
Anxious, worried Vivian Smith is on a train full of children who are escaping the German bombing of London in 1939. Her fears and worries on the train, as bad as they are, are nothing like what actually happens to her, as she is kidnapped off the platform and whisked away to a remarkable place: Time City. Her abductors, Jonathan and Sam, believe that she is the Time Lady who can save their home from a terrible crisis. Although she slowly convinces them that she is an ordinary British schoolgirl, it is impossible to return her to England. She must find her feet in a new environment, fool the boys’ parents and rise to the challenge of averting the pending disaster.
Time city is a complex and wonderful place, standing alone outside of Earth’s history, and influenced by styles and learning from every era. The city’s primary function is keeping track of the fluctuating time streams of our world through the use of Observers and Time Police. Vivian finds that in order to pass as a Time City schoolgirl, she must learn the entire history of the earth, a new form of writing, how to handle very advanced technology, and even what foods to choose from the entire history of earth.
Middle-school readers will enjoy the quickly paced adventures of the three young heroes. Every reader will appreciate the complex and engaging mystery of the fate of the three children and Time City itself.
Tricia Hutchins, Library Page