A Message Through Time – Anna Ciddor


Allen & Unwin

April 2023


Imprint:A & U Children

RRP: $18.99

For those who love time-slip adventures, and particularly, are keen on ancient history this is a desirable addition to your shelves. I loved The Boy Who Stepped Through Time and after book talking it to my ChocLit kiddos, it was on a regular rotation in and out of the library. Author Anna Ciddor was ably assisted in Roman research for that earlier book, by her sister Tamara, and when the pair realised they had a lot more material than was needed for the first book, the concept of a second was born.

This is not a sequel but rather a companion novel, and once again, keen readers will enjoy the plunge back into Roman times. Step-siblings, Felix and Zoe, who are not at all impressed with their new kinship find themselves living in the past when Felix picks up a mysterious magic bronze stylus. Their encounter with pampered and precocious Petronia, a 12 year old Roman girl from a privileged family, has all three embroiled in a mission that becomes a race against time.

Tracing the development of the relationships between the characters as they explore their own strengths and weaknesses, and test their own limits, provides some rich discussion and reflection for readers. There are clear themes of gender roles, wealth and privilege, resilience, ingenuity, the issues of slavery and moral compass/conscience as well as rich historical details, which could very well be translated into a meaningful unit of work, particularly in an integrated unit on ancient civilisations, such as that often explored by Year 7.

For those who are looking to augment their ‘read around your topic’ collections or expanding Literature Circle titles this would be a terrific addition. Highly recommended for kiddos from around Year 5 upwards.

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