Part choose your own adventure, part Where's Waldo? this British import follows Great Aunt Fantasia and her tiny hourglass through history from the time of the dinosaurs to the building of the Eiffel Tower and the travails of the Oregon Trail in the nineteenth century. The illustrations are busy, humorous and cartoon-like, and accompanying narration is filled with curious historical tidbits. For example, in Peter the Great's maze, we learn that he taxed men who chose to wear beards. The reader also learns that not all Parisians approved of the Eiffel Tower when it was first built. The mysterious hourglass that effects the time travel is even harder to find than Waldo. Also in the series is The Magic Globe illustrated by Alan Baron which offers an around the world adventure.
School Library Journal
Gr 4-6These game books follow the same basic pattern. In Globe, the more successful and appealing of the two, readers travel through countries by following a series of precise directions. When touring the Middle East, for example, they are directed to ``take a bus'' from Shiraz northwest to Esfahan, and the route is clearly indicated in the illustration, nicely reinforcing several geographic concepts at once. A compass appears on each double-page spread. Items are hidden throughout, and interesting tidbits about the cities or countries visited are also tossed into the pot. A globe hidden on each spread sends readers from region to region as determined by the colors on the world map at the beginning of the book. In Hourglass, readers select the ``remarkable moment'' they would like to travel to from a time chart at the beginning of the book. After turning to the page as directed, they are given things to look for, each of which offers information about the period or culture visited. Cartoon drawings and balloon-enclosed messages add humor and some essential facts. All the while, youngsters must keep alert for objects from the present that are anachronistically in the pictures. Finally, the hourglass must be spotted, since its color determines the next ``trip.'' The illustrations in both titles are bright and appealing, and the language, while occasionally forced in its enthusiasm, is clear and understandable. Neither volume is an essential purchase, but both will fly off the shelves and into the arms of children looking for recreational amusement. And for that, they could do worse.Linda Greengrass, Bank Street College Library, New York City