Review Blog

Dec 21 2009

The TV Time Travellers by Pete Johnson

cover image

Corgi Yearling, 2009.
(Ages 9+) If you thought time travel was a fantasy, think again, after all anything seems possible in the world of reality TV. Eleven year olds, Zac and Izzy win coveted places in a new TV company's reality sensation - sending children to live as World War Two evacuees.
The conversational style, narrated alternatively by Zac and Izzy, will have great appeal as readers unravel the stories behind the characters. Zac has become obsessed with World War Two following his Mum's death and Izzy lives on the poverty line with her Mum and is a typically feisty heroine. All the young evacuees hope to avoid eviction and win the prize of a dream holiday. Johnson concentrates more on the reality TV competition than life as an evacuee and readers won't learn a great deal about World War Two, although much is made of the dreary food, strict schooling and having to perform number twos in the outside lav!
The characters of the children are well drawn, but the wicked TV pundits; Miss Weed and Mr Wallack are somewhat flat and predictable. However there is food for thought as the TV Company preys on impressionable children and, in an effort to raise viewing figures, they use nefarious methods that threaten serious consequences.
Pete Johnson successfully cashes in on our young generation's obsession with Big Brother and Britain's Got Talent and good on him, as he knows what will make youngsters pick up a book. The TV Time Travellers will certainly tempt reluctant readers aged 10 - 12 and you could always add it to a World War Two topic box; it would make an interesting contrast to The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas!
Claire Larson

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