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In British illustrator Cockcroft's promising first novel, Nathan Cobbe copes as best he can with the death of his mother, hit by a bus a year earlier. But his father, Henry, will do whatever it takes to prevent her from dying, even if that means traveling back in time. Focusing less on Henry and more on Nathan's experiences, the book successfully avoids explaining the mechanics of Henry's time-travel, details not as important as the chaos he creates. A mysterious Beefeater appears as a kind of guide for Nathan, who eventually gets drawn into the alternate realities engendered by Henry's actions. Humorous motifs (a dog that can be placated only by bubble gum, news reports about an Esperanto-speaking mule, etc.) leaven the situation, and Nathan himself invites readers' steady attention: he responds realistically to the strange events, asking insightful questions and making understandable mistakes. The powerful messages-the need to accept the hand we're dealt and not to let time slip by-mix enticingly with the lightly introduced philosophical and scientific concepts. Ages 10-up. (Feb.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.