Book #2 – The Time Travelers by Linda Buckley-Archer
Again, this was probably a more challenging book than we originally thought and a few of the moms ended up reading this to their kids. This was originally titled Gideon the Cutpurse and was remarketed with a new title and artwork to appeal to a younger audience. The main story is about a boy and girl who get thrown back in time to eighteenth-century England and have to figure out a way home. Some of the language was challenging, but overall the kids enjoyed it.
Of course The Time Travelers is the first book in a trilogy – it seems most young adult books are part of a series these days. This is quite a challenge for a book club because you want the kids to experience some variety and if they really like a series, you can’t seem to tear them away from it! We have made an agreement that only the first book in a series can be read before the book club meeting – this helps to avoid spoilers being inadvertently spilled from someone reading ahead, and keeps the focus on the book being discussed.
In addition to the character discussions, I came up with an activity about how typical life for eighteenth-century children might differ from their lives today. I listed some typical chores that 18th-century children might be in charge of (Time Travelers – Chores Past and Present) and handed it out with the “Past” chores column folded over. I asked the kids to list what their chores are right now on the blank side and then we compared. The fun part was telling some of the moms what the kids thought their chores were (“I don’t do anything”; “I only have to do my homework”).
We then played a typical Victorian-era card game, Old Maid. The history and instructions are found at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old_maid_(card_game). It is easy enough to play with a regular deck of cards and I think the kids were a little shocked that this card game had been around for over 300 years!