A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Wells Bequest is a companion to The Grimm Legacy and also features the New York City Circulating Material Repository, but it's not necessary to have read that book first. This volume has many mathematical calculations, several scientific references, and in-depth speculation and exploration surrounding H.G. Wells' time machine, as well as Nicola Tesla's supposed work on a death ray. Some sensitive readers may be disturbed by the villain's threat to destroy New York City unless he can have the time machine.
What's the story?
Leo's startled when a tiny machine whirs into his bedroom and inside it he sees a six-inch version of himself seated with a beautiful miniature girl both dressed in old-fashioned clothes. After it departs, Leo's search for this extraordinary machine takes him to the New York City Circulating Material Repository, where he meets Jaya and recognizes her as the very girl he saw in his room. His quest for the extraordinary machine and the two kids' attempts to make it work ultimately take them time traveling to London in the 1890s. There they hunt for the prototype and seek to warn a scientist of imminent danger to his work. Although they find the intricate plans, Simon, from the British Repository in London, demands the machine. He threatens them with death and destruction if they don't relinquish it and all its secrets. Can Leo and Jaya prevent a catastrophe?
Is it any good?
Despite some odd people and even stranger events, THE WELLS BEQUEST is written with enough authenticity to seem thoroughly believable. This fast-paced sci-fi fantasy is filled with adventure, humor, a hint of romance, and enough tension to keep you turning page after page.
Leo and Jaya are likeable. While they are both shrinking and growing physically in pursuit of their goal, it's Leo who matures and earns respect from Jaya, his supervisor, and his family. Most important, he learns to respect himself.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about self-esteem. Does Leo have to be exactly what his parents expect or want? Is he a failure because he's different from the rest of the family?
Why do you think stories involving time travel are so popular? What others have you read?
How important is creativity and imagination in Leo's search? Have you ever solved a problem by thinking "outside the box" the way Leo does?
- Author: Polly Shulman
- Genre: Science Fiction
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Adventures, Friendship, Great Boy Role Models, Great Girl Role Models, History, Science and Nature
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
- Publication date: June 13, 2013
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 10 - 12
- Number of pages: 248
- Available on: Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.