Timothy Mean and the Time Machine | TehBen’s Book Club

It’s time for a fresh twist on the Book Club this week! For this one, we are aiming to cater to both the young, as well as the young at heart. Reading to children is a fundamental necessity to proper brain development…(I have no scientific evidence to that effect but I can’t be too far off, right?) All jokes aside, what we introduce the next generations to in regards to children’s books is vastly important and we should do everything we can to make informed choices. Even when not educational, the “entertainment” books need to spark that passion, and pull children into the fabulous world of reading. It’s our first go at something like this, but we’re excited to explore a new style of book here at the Club. Jump in with us, won’t you?

Timothy Mean and the Time Machine by William A.E. Ford, featuring illustrations by Marcel Simonetti tells the story of young Timothy Mean who, while tinkering in his family basement, is able to miraculously create a time machine using nothing but old boxes and childlike ingenuity. Powered by either childhood whimsy, or perhaps the personification of pure evil, little Timothy travels back to landmarks in earth’s timeline from prehistoric to futuristic…and is a complete rapscallion at every turn! The writing is in a casual yet consistent rhyming scheme with a repeating introduction to each time period that Timothy warps into. The little troublemaker is up to no good wherever in history he happens to appear, and his mischievous accomplishments (such as pantsing Neil Armstrong during the moon landing) are expressed with no remorse or apology. Timothy won’t be learning any lessons, which is just how things should be when we explore the mind of someone at this age.

The writing is enjoyable, but the illustrations are absolutely brilliant. Each time traveling scenario leaps off the page thanks to the detailed and vibrant artistic renditions. It may all be the imagination of a young boy, but the depth of life portrayed here means Timothy has a bright future so long as he can stop being a little such and such.

Most books here at the TehBen Book Club are consumed solo, silently read to analyze and promote as we best see fit. However for this iteration, we felt it best to get a first hand account from the story telling prospective. As Ben has a child in the appropriate age range, let’s give him a go:

“The best part was the dragons! But it needs some trains in the story!” -Shane, 4

This was the critical response from my four year old when I read this vibrant story aloud to him. I think he mistakenly grouped the dinosaur as a member of the “dragon” species, so he was confused as to why there weren’t more of them. From my parental point of view, I can appreciate the nods to 80’s favorites Explorers and Back To The Future, so I found this book to be just as enjoyable as he did. I just don’t know why this Timothy kid holds such a deep seated grudge against everybody in history: past, present and future. –Shane’s Dad

Verdict: Timothy Mean and the Time Machine by William A.E. Ford is a beautiful children’s book in several different ways. The writing style is minimalist, but charming in its tone and feel. The illustrations are captivating, bold, and will please readers of every age group. This is a book to be enjoyed with a child with a comparative imagination, or even with an old friend or loved one to re-live a more creative and carefree existence. This is all well and good, but if you’ve got a young child with a penchant time travel…remember to teach the little one some manners.

Special Thanks to William A.E. Ford for providing a review copy of Timothy Mean and the Time Machine to TehBen.com for review. All thoughts and opinions are our own.
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