Annette Laing's The Snipesville Chronicles
The Chronocar
Fiction , Sci-Fi , Teen , Timeslip / April 25, 2018

This story opens in 1888 with the son of a slave, Simmie Johnson, working his way to Alabama where he hopes to attend Tuskegee College. Simmie is gifted and scientifically inclined, but trouble courts him with every step. Fast forward to 2015, Tony Carpenter, a student at the Illinois Institute of Technology, comes across an old science journal written by a Dr. Simmie L. Johnson more than a century before. Coupled with the teachings of Nicola Tesla, Tony builds the time machine described by Johnson and sets out to find him in the past. Unfortunately, things don’t go exactly as planned, and Tony finds himself in a series of dilemmas. Due to some language and violence, this is recommended for mature or older teens. It portrays the ugly realities of racial violence in the Reconstruction era as well as the continued troubles during Jim Crow. Through the character of Tony, current racial tensions are explored and compared. Those familiar with the landscape of Chicago will enjoy the early 20th century descriptions of the city. Science fiction, admittedly, is not my preferred genre, and I don’t feel qualified enough to expound upon the time-travel details–of which are copious. It is a…

The Race Against Time
Elementary , Fiction , Historical , Timeslip / March 19, 2018

Third in Geronimo Stilton’s Journey through Time series, this story finds Geronimo and his gang on another adventure: this time to the prehistoric era, ancient Greece, and the Renaissance. Geronimo is a nervous mouse, shy and quiet, but always seems to find trouble, especially with his annoying and inconsiderate cousin, Trap, in tow. Trap, however, has a knack for easing into any society with friendly manners and clever ruses, and thus is a valuable asset to the team. Geronimo’s resourceful sister, Theo, helpful nephew, Benjamin, and friend, little Bugsy Wugsy, complete the time-traveling set appointed by the scientist Paws Von Volt. With plenty of cheese references, the eager mice start in the land of mammoths and cavemen, easily blending in with a generous offering that saves the day. They brave a stampede and other beasts, learning all about living in the wild and harsh landscape. Next they travel to Greece, where they meet great philosophers and Geronimo tries his pen with a playwriting competition. Last on their agenda is the Renaissance, where they find themselves in Italy in the company of none other than Leonardo da Vinci. All three eras are a good deal of time apart, and so not…

One Way or Another
Fiction , Historical , Middle Grade , Timeslip / March 18, 2018

The conclusion to Annette Laing’s time-travel young adult series (Don’t Know Where, Don’t Know When, A Different Day, a Different Destiny, Look Ahead, Look Back) One Way or Another explores racial tensions and class bias in both present day and the early 20th century. Hannah, Alex, and Brandon are each sent on a separate mission that will connect all of their previous adventures and bring closure to their tumultuous wanderings. Hannah, pining for her WWII era friends, Verity and Eric, and her mother-figure, Mrs. Devenish, discovers her ability to initiate time travel, and happily finds herself back in Balesworth, England, but in a different decade from her last visit. After things go awry, she finally settles in 1905, taking a housemaid position with the young Mrs. Devenish, who is, at the time, an unmarried suffragist with family troubles. It’s up to Hannah to figure out the purpose and resolution of her task. Meanwhile, Brandon awakens in 1906 Snipesville–a year he refers to as We Don’t Talk About That–and experiences first hand just how badly the African American community was treated under Jim Crow. Alex, who had begun in England with Hannah, joins Brandon in Georgia, yet because of societal rules,…