Jason is having a particularly bad day, resulting in being sent to his room by his mother. His only comfort comes from having his cat Gareth curled up near him. What a turn Jason's day takes when, upon wishing he too had nine lives, his feline companion does the unexpected and explains that cats do not have nine lives but can visit nine different lives anywhere in time. Of course Jason wants to accompany Gareth on his visits.
So begins the charming journey of Gareth and Jason to nine different points throughout history and the world, from Ancient Egypt to pre-Revolutionary America. The history is light and sometimes a little "creative," but may provide just enough detail to get a young reader interested in learning more about a historical period s/he might not have been familiar with, such as the time of the Britons or Colonial Peru.
The book has plenty of adventure, battles, daring escapes, a witch hunt, and a little romance for both main characters, but is not too scary or graphic for younger readers. It's also peppered with humor, including Gareth's many pearls of wisdom to Jason on "cat culture," for example: “The only thing a cat worries about is what's happening right now. As we tell the kittens, you can only wash one paw at a time.”
Time Cat is a pleasant, though not entirely historically accurate, time-travel adventure for budding fantasy fans, cat lovers, or those not looking for something too serious. The book is not without it's lessons; a few of the historical characters, and Jason as well, must show some courage and take the first steps toward realizing and accepting who they are. Gareth is a fun character, clever, cool, and quintessentially feline. Plus, how can you pass up a book that espouses such wisdom as: "Books can truly change our lives: the lives of those who read them, the lives of those who write them. Readers and writers alike discover things they never knew about the world and about themselves."
224 pages 978-0312632137 Ages 7-12
Recommended by: Joanne Sobieck-Lingg
Instructor & Research Specialist
Howard County Library System, Maryland USA