The Accidental Time Traveller by Janis Mackay tells the story of a young man named Saul who has become frustrated with his life in Scotland. He is sent out to the store by his mom and you can hear his frustration as the story opens and his mom is preoccupied with the twins. We follow Saul’s train of thought as he avoids bullies, makes his way to the store, and helps a strangely dressed girl avoid an accident. At this point we’re introduced to our accidental time traveller, Agatha Black.
Saul decides he’ll try to hide Agatha because nobody will understand her and he’s also a little afraid to be seen helping a girl. Agatha asks to be shown around the town and reminisces about how much things have changed. Saul takes her to his gang’s hideout and asks her to stay there while he heads home. At this point we learn that Saul has the option to enter a “Young Historians” contest for Scottish history. (a little foreshadowing) Saul wants to win the competition to buy a brand new bike. Saul goes about his normal routine at home, taking some extra food along the way so he can bring it to Agatha.
Saul and Agatha grow to be friends and Saul learns more about Scotland in the past. He hatches a plan to pass Agatha off as a boy so “he” can join his gang and attend school. Saul also tries to learn more about Agatha’s trip through time to help her return to her own time. Along the way, we see how Agatha looks at the world from her 200 years in the past and how Saul sees his world through new eyes.
We watch Saul grow a little bit through his adventure with Agatha. He thinks of himself a little less, gains some confidence, and gains an unexpected friend in Agatha. Does he succeed in helping Agatha return to her own time? Does Saul win the History prize and get his new bike? Janis Mackay tells a great story to answer all of those questions.
My Take: This was a great read for young adults and adults as well. I would have no problem giving this to my 5th grader to read and I think it would be appreciated. I enjoyed Saul’s story, though was initially put off by his negative attitude. As I got to know Saul, I saw that change and appreciated the story more. I think this is a good read for its target audience and can recommend it.
Disclaimer: I was provided with this book by the publisher with no expectations on their part. The opinions expressed are my own and were not influenced by anyone else.