The Time Travelers
A book review for parents
The Time Travelers was previously titled Gideon the Cutpurse.
This fantasy adventure is the first book in the "The Gideon Trilogy" by Linda Buckley-Archer and is published by Aladdin Paperbacks, Simon & Schuster Children's Books.
The Time Travelers is written for kids ages 10 and up. The age range reflects readability and not necessarily content appropriateness.
Peter and Kate, who have only just met at Kate's family farm, suddenly find themselves thrown into the year 1763 by an anti-gravity machine that Kate's scientist father and his colleagues are working on. A man named Gideon, on the run from a former employer (Lord Luxon), witnesses their arrival into the past. They explain what's happened, and he vows to help them return home. Gideon introduces the children to his current employer and her family, all the while helping them track down the scoundrel known as Tar Man, the person who stole their anti-gravity device. When Lord Luxon catches up with his former employee, Gideon is thrown in prison and nearly hanged. Kate's father arrives to rescue the children, but he accidentally takes the Tar Man back to modern times instead of Peter.
Gideon tells Peter the biblical story of Gideon's battle. They use that strategy to startle rogues who have captured their friends. Gideon was somewhat forced into stealing for the man who saved his life (Lord Luxon); he alternates between feeling guilt for his crimes and hope that God will forgive him for his sins. When he's saved from being hanged, he says God has given him a second chance. Kate prays silently for their return to the present. When the band of rogues (the Carricks) are drunk, they allow the parson to preach a sermon to them about their wickedness.
Kate's father, Dr. Dyer, is described as a compassionate man who deeply loves his daughter yet wants her to stand on her own two feet. He hides information about Peter and Kate's time travel and risks a great deal to go to 1763 to find them. Gideon cares for Peter and Kate, refusing to abandon them even at the risk of his own safety. Peter's parents are largely absent from his life because of their careers; upon losing him, they seem to embrace a new perspective about what's important in life.
Other Belief Systems
Peter and Kate meet Erasmus Darwin (grandfather of Charles Darwin) in 1763. Kate tells Erasmus that his grandson discovered evolution — proving that all creatures, including humans, evolved from the same ancestor — and that this discovery changed modern thinking. The characters from the past who don't understand the science of Peter and Kate's time travel believe the children may be devils.
D--n appears a half dozen or more times, and one or two instances of God's name used in vain.
This book's audio version won the Parents' Choice Award, 2006
If your children have read this book or someone has read it to them, consider these discussion topics:
- If you could travel back in time, what year would you choose to visit and why would you choose that year?
How would that time period be fun and difficult at the same time?
What did Peter and Kate like about the time period where they found themselves?
What did they find difficult about being in that time period?
- What characteristics made Gideon a good friend?
What did Gideon do that caused Peter to admire and respect him?
How important are those characteristics between friends today?
Whom do you admire?
Whom do you respect?
What did these people do to gain your admiration and respect?
- How do you think Peter's relationship with his parents will improve if and when he gets back to the present?
What has Peter learned that will make him a better son?
What have his parents learned that will make them better parents?
What can you learn from Kate or Peter about being a better daughter or son?
What do you hope your parents could learn from Kate's or Peter's parents to make them even better parents?
- What did Gideon do when he was working for Lord Luxon? Did he have to steal?
What would have happened if he didn't steal for Lord Luxon?
What would you do in his place, when there are no easy answers and nothing seems like a good solution?
How important is it to do what is right, regardless of the outcome?
How did Gideon's choice continue to follow and hurt him?
Some of the men from 1763 wager in one scene. A band of thugs that capture Peter, Kate and their friends drinks brandy.
Book reviews cover the content, themes and worldviews of fiction books, not their literary merit, and equip parents to decide whether a book is appropriate for their children. A book's inclusion does not constitute an endorsement by Focus on the Family.