Chronal Engine

(2012)
Chronal Engine cover

If you like dinosaurs and time travel than this is just the book for you.  It is a fast paced adventure science fiction story perfect for boys and girls that love history, dinosaurs, and time travel.  The action starts on page one and it never ends.  Max and his older brother and sister, twins Kyle and Emma, are sent to stay with their grandfather at his ranch in Texas on the Colorado River while their mother is off studying dinosaurs in Mongolia.  As soon as they arrive, their Grandfather tells them that Emma will be kidnapped, he will have a heart attack, and he has a time machine in the basement.  Now Max, Kyle, and their new friend, Petra, must go back in the time of the dinosaurs in a VW to find Emma.  Can they survive this ancient world with it many prehistoric dinosaurs?  Who is the mysterious Samuel and why was Emma kidnapped in the first place?

Max is curious and observant, and he is more or less the hero in the story.  Max’s knowledge of dinosaurs keeps the reader guessing as to what will happen next.  Max certainly keeps everyone out of hot water and without him they would not have lived in the wild for five minutes.  As we make our way through the story, Max is teaching us about the prehistoric landscape, its inhabitants and how to survive.  We learn interesting and fun facts about the dinosaurs and their surroundings. 

The characters are likeable and the settings bring the past alive.  Boys and girls in grades 4 through 6 will enjoy this story.

I would recommend this book for children in grades 4 through 6.

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