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CM MagazineTo reassure Kate that their time in all three eras will not adversely impact history, AP explains the time-travel paradox: “nothing we do here in the past will have any lasting effect. As soon as we’re gone, everything we did will disappear with us.” A retired Royal Ontario Museum palaeontologist and University of Toronto professor, McGowan has written extensively, but Abacus is his first novel and reflects his belief that exciting students about science with hands-on experience is essential to their understanding. AP, considered a geeky shrimp by his trendy sister, uses his knowledge of science to extricate them from several dilemmas during their forays into the past where his experiments are considered sorcery. The interplay between the siblings is believable as their concern for each other trumps any conflict. Well-paced prose, an appealing pair of main characters, an appropriately threatening villain, a variety of secondary characters in three past-time frames, fast-paced action, and plenty of historical detail combine in this entertaining novel for middle-grades. McGowan adds suggestions for “Further Reading for Young People” and “Further Reading for Parents and Teachers,” as well as “Notes” that “explain some of the facts in the story” and “give some background information about the real historical events.” The consummate educator, McGowan provides detailed instructions, “How to Repeat the Experiments in the Book,” for readers, cautioning “you MUST have an adult helper for some of the experiments.” although, of course, fictional AP conducts his scientific feats independently and successfully. Highly Recommended.