Tilly and the Time Machine – Adrian Edmondson
Reviewed by: Katy Reeve
Age range: 6-9
Genre: Historical, time travel, adventure
Tilly is seven and a half and about to make history. When Tilly’s dad builds a time machine in the shed, there’s only one place she wants to go: back to her sixth birthday party, when she ate too many cupcakes, and her mummy was still there. But then something goes wrong! Tilly’s dad gets stuck in the past, and only she can save him… Will they make it back in time for tea.
Your child will enjoy Tilly and the Time Machine if they:
Like a story with a strong, likeable main character (A female Kevin from the Home Alone films)
Enjoys action where the plot moves from setting to setting at a pace.
Are interested in history – Queen Victoria, Nelson and Hans, the German goalkeeper from 1966, are all characters that Tilly meets on her travels.
Has read short chapter books independently
Wants a book that has humorous, detailed drawings that bring the story alive.
Needs to develop self-confidence and reading stamina, moving on from simple chapter books.
Adrian Edmondson is best known for his madcap humour and TV roles, such as Vivienne in the Young Ones, so I was intrigued to see how he would harness his comedy style and make his first child’s book suitable for young readers. I was not disappointed. He does not try to be overly funny or silly; the humour derives from his ability to relate to young children. What seven year old wouldn’t give themselves a gold star for cleaning their teeth or want to eat cupcakes and raw jelly for dinner over and over again?
Time travel is given an extra edge; Tilly doesn’t just visit another period of time, her dad has programmed in key dates for Tilly’s adventures. She meets Queen Victoria, whom we discover likes cocktail sausages on a stick, Nelson, who loves Kit Kats and Hans, the German goalkeeper from 1966.
Tilly’s dad is a quirky, mad inventor; Tilly is seven and such a relatable character for 6-9-year-olds. She is fearless and full of imaginative plans and schemes, she reminded me of Kevin from The Home Alone films. Her mother passed away just after Tilly’s sixth birthday. Childhood loss of a loved one is sensitively covered throughout the story with sincerity, in a poignant and thoughtful way. Tilly and her dad work their way through their grief and understand each other more by the end of the adventure.