Reviews provided by Syndetics
School Library Journal Review
Gr 2-4-- Take a bit of The Time Machine , sprinkle in some Tuck Everlasting and a dash of the movie Big and the result is this fantasy approach to accepting that life is always changing. Joanna doesn't want to leave Marley Street, even if their house is too small. But the proprietors of the carousel that appears magically one morning have other ideas for Joanna and a handful of her townsfolk. Climbing hesitantly on their strangely alive mounts, each rider takes a rollicky spin, winding up seven years in the future. All find the promise of something wonderful, except Joanna, who, much against the posted rules, brings seven-year-old Davy back from the future. After a mechanical breakdown, discord among riders, and a shaky trip to return Davy to his cozy house on Singer Street, the carousel deposits its passengers back in real time with but a fuzzy memory of their fantastic journey. Joanna can't explain why, but suddenly she knows it's okay for the family to move to the new house on Singer Street. The 17 short chapters spin by as quickly as the carousel due to Rodda's skill in drawing readers into the story early and keeping events building at a fast clip. The characters are uniformly warm, if quirky, and even the old town crab and Joanna's stick-in-the-mud friend are treated with understanding. Young's black-and-white drawings, with their rampant carousel horses and time travelers in glowing auras, capture the light spirit of the story. An amusing, optimistic chapter book fantasy to read alone or aloud. --Joanne Aswell, Long Valley Middle School, NJ (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Gr. 3-6. When a mysterious carousel appears on a vacant lot near her home, 11-year-old Jo is drawn to it and is whisked away--along with other selected neighbors and friends--seven years into the future. The travelers are told they may wander through town for one hour before their time machine departs again. Although Jo and her fellow passengers are not aware of it, they all are at crossroads in their lives and are helped in coming to terms with choices they must make. This is a multi-faceted story, successful as a time-travel fantasy, as a novel about learning to accept changes in one's life, and as a commentary on human foibles. The author carefully resists tying up all the loose ends; Jo and her fellow explorers are destined to forget the details of their adventure (thus ensuring that the future remains "the best-kept secret"), but they keep the sense of peace acquired from all they have seen. Illustrated with black-and-white sketches, the story will make a thought-provoking read-aloud as well as a fascinating read-alone for young time-travel enthusiasts. ~--Kay Weisman
Horn Book Review
Young Jo gets a chance to ride a magic carousel seven years into the future, where she learns things that help her accept present changes in her family. The haunting tone of this fantasy is well-sustained, and Jo is an exceptionally appealing character. From HORN BOOK 1990, (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Kirkus Book Review
In another unusual fantasy from the Australian author of Something Special (1989), a time journey via carousel marks a turning point for several characters--especially for Joanna, who discovers that she's about to become a big sister. Jo, a happy, sensitive only child, is distressed by her parents' inexplicable decision to move to a larger house. When a merry-go-round appears in a nearby vacant lot, she is one of the oddly assorted few who break through its mysterious barrier in order to have a ride. Deposited just seven years in the future, they are given an hour to observe unseen--an hour extended by a young hitchhiker who turns out to be Davy, Jo's future brother, whom she must return in their parents before the carousel takes the group home. This deceptively simple tale includes several deftly sketched characters--notably a grocer distraught because his mother wants to go back to Italy; ""The Shark,"" a young ne'er-do-well who finds a satisfying calling on the magic carousel; and a discouraged inventor whose imminent success is linked to Jo's observations in the future--even though memories of the journey have evaporated like a tantalizing dream. A charmingly original, neatly structured story, nicely supported by lively b&w illustrations. Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.