Review of ‘Timothy Mean and the Time Machine’ by William A E Ford

‘It’s Monday. Hip hip hooray! Where shall we travel in time today?’

This picture book is about the time travels of Timothy Mean, a little boy who builds a time machine out of cardboard boxes and glue. He goes on a fun adventure with it every day of the week. Despite his name, he’s not mean as such, but he’s cheeky. He plays pranks on his parents when they were schoolkids, humiliates pirates and Vikings, pulls a T-Rex’s tail and embarrasses the first man on the moon. It’s a fun idea which demonstrates the power of children’s imaginations.

I liked the range of time travel situations, all of which appeal to children. The themes are traditionally those that appeal to boys: Vikings, pirates, dinosaurs, outer space, dragons, pranks. As the protagonist is also a boy, I think we can safely suggest that this would be a great suggestion if you’re looking for picture books designed to appeal to boys with those interests. I would say the book can be enjoyed from the age of three (when children are able to understand stories and recognise elements of the pictures) but might be appreciated most around the age of five.

The story is written in rhyme with repetition, ensuring that the phrases are memorable for a young audience. Rhyming can be difficult to get right. Some of the rhymes don’t really ‘scan’ in this book, but I’m not sure this would matter much to a child. Plus, slightly contrived rhyming words are all part of the fun. The use of punctuation and capital letters is not consistent in the book. Again, I doubt a child would notice, but I think plenty of adults would.

I love Marcelo Simonetti’s energetic illustrations. They complement the fun text and give a sense of exuberance. There is enough detail to keep children’s interest while the text is being read aloud by the adult.

Thank you to the author, William A E Ford (no relation!) for the e-book provided for review. Check out his website here. Timothy Mean and the Time Machine was published independently this year and is available to buy from Amazon in paperback and Kindle book formats.

Samples of the book used by permission of the author.

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