Title: Time Jump Coins
Author: Susan Olson
Publication date: 2017
Page Count: 179
Age Recommendation: 8
How I Came Across the Book: A book review request!
When ten-year-old Joey cleans an 1889 penny and suddenly finds herself standing next to a magician in downtown Philadelphia of that year, she is shocked! When she realizes that she can jump back in time to any year between 1859 and 1909, thanks to the set of Indian Head pennies hidden under her bed, she wants to go on more adventures right away.The fact that her new (and only) friend Eli is a super-smart history whiz should make him an ideal travel companion. Although at a textile mill in Manayunk they have to learn about child labor the hard way, they do have a fantastic time climbing the arm of the Statue of Liberty and seeing the first phone at the 1876 Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia.But Eli has Asperger’s Syndrome, and Joey has a bad temper. Now their quirks threaten to drive them apart, and worse, get them both stranded in the past forever! ~ From the Author
Time Jump Coins was honestly a pretty cute book. It was obviously aimed towards younger readers and I could definitely see myself enjoying this book a couple years ago. Personally, I found it to a be a pleasant, cute read. I liked the main character and her friend Eli. They were both pretty smart and rather unique and human beings, they felt alive and not flat. Plus, the idea that you can go back in time to the date on a coin is super clever! It especially could help kids get into history and imagine what it was like back then. There also were some photos which added to the history aspect of the book. One thing that really stood out to me was how Mrs. Olson included characters with mental illnesses, the main characters nonetheless. I think that’s very important to include diverse characters and normalize mental illnesses, as they are not a myth and very very real.
I did have a few issues with this book though. I never felt like there was any real rise of conflict or resolution to the conflict. It sort of felt like there was momentum built up and tried to keep its momentum throughout the book. If felt very strained and forced. The ending was also very very rushed and it didn’t feel true to the book or the characters. While it was unexpected, it didn’t feel like it was the resolution the story was supposed to have. There also were some fact issues. Once the main character stated that “I’d like to have a few words with the Chinese guy who invented Haikus”. Haikus are actually originally a form of Japanese poetry, not Chinese. I’m not sure if the false fact was intentional or not, but it did stand out to me.
“Anyway, it could be worse. Look at those huge bumps on the backsides of those women’s dresses. I think they’re called bustles.”
Potatoes rolled and bounced, spreading out in all directions like a ripple in a pond.
“Uh, f-f-four potatoes?” I stammered.