“Out of Time” by Mark Golding

“Out of Time” by Mark Golding 699 1024 Reader Views Kids

Out of Time

Mark Golding
Bumblebee Books (2023)
Reviewed by Tammy Ruggles for Reader Views (10/2023)

“Out of Time” by Mark Golding, illustrated by Lucian Gradinariu, is a fun, exciting fantasy sci-fi book that will have middle-grade readers raving and sharing young Joe Jackson’s adventures. Joe is twelve years old. He has a big sense of adventure and curiosity, and that comes in handy when you live in the so-called ho-hum town of Highcross, known mostly for its munitions factory.

One day he explores a World War II bomb that hasn’t been detonated yet, and it sets him on an incredible once-in-a-lifetime event that leads him to meet an extra-terrestrial being called Max, who is literally from another planet. This time-travel journey through space involves Joe, Max, and their friends Mo and the Robinsons. Dinosaurs aren’t the only things they run into. They also meet up with medieval knights and Roman Legionnaires, and of course, there is a standout villain known as Darden who is out to conquer Earth.

Golding captures the imagination in an exciting way in this book, and the stellar artwork really brings the adventure to life, especially with the otherworldly concepts. The book, with the story combined with pictures, makes you think you’re watching a sci-fi animation film, and I think young readers will really love this aspect. Besides being a fun read, it’s also a history lesson of sorts, even though it is far from the experience of reading a dry history book. Be prepared for interesting historical details, and scenes with vivid imagery, both on the illustrations and in your own mind.

The unexpected nature of the book gives it a dynamic feel because you don’t know what will happen next. The pacing is even, and the suspense builds. The dialogue sparkles and the whole book is grounded in the beginning in a nicely-described setting of where Joe lives and how his life is prior to the adventure. This is one of those great books parents can enjoy as much as their children, and then talk about it together; something that can’t be said for every book. For a science fiction adventure sure to keep middle graders turning pages, “Out of Time” by Mark Golding is a must-read.

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