Review | Time Travelling with a Hamster by Ross Welford

A light-hearted story with some serious messages. Ideal for children and adults to share. 4/5 stars.

Time Travelling with a Hamster by Ross Welford book cover

The blurb: “My dad died twice. Once when he was thirty nine and again four years later when he was twelve.

The first time had nothing to do with me. The second time definitely did, but I would never even have been there if it hadn’t been for his ‘time machine’…”

When Al Chaudhury discovers his late dad’s time machine, he finds that going back to the 1980s requires daring and imagination. It also requires lies, theft, burglary, and setting his school on fire. All without losing his pet hamster, Alan Shearer…

As ever, clicking on the cover image will take you to the book’s Goodreads page.

My take:

First, to deal with your questions:

  1. No, I didn’t make that title up.
  2. Yes, this is a real book.
  3. And yes, it does indeed feature time travelling with a hamster. That’s not some sort of metaphor.

Many kids movies, particularly animated films, include jokes and references to appeal to parents and carers. These jokes usually sail over the heads of young viewers but keep the adults chuckling. In this way, while the film has a core children’s audience, there’s something in it for adults too.

I thought about this a few times while reading Time Travelling with a Hamster. I have no problem reading books which are written for children. I’ve always thought that a good book is a good book and can be enjoyed by a reader no matter how old they are. That said, in the case of Time Travelling with a Hamster, I’d say the book’s core audience is definitely 8-12 year olds. Al, the main character and first person narrator, is twelve, and overall I felt the book read a little “young” for adults. However, the plot revolves around child-parent and child-grandparent relationships meaning that there is also a great deal for adult readers to appreciate and enjoy. Also, the action in the past takes place in 1984 with lots of little details which made me – a child of the 80s – laugh. I’m not sure many ten year olds would appreciate these period references.

Continue reading…