Friday, 14 June 2013

Mortified: Lost in the Sands of Time

Mortified: Lost in the Sands of Time by Martin Chatterton (Random House Australia Children’s)
PB RRP $14.95
ISBN 9781742758886
Also available as an ebook
ISBN 9781742758893
Reviewed by Marian McGuinness

Imagine being a ‘frever’ where every 1000 years equals one human year. Mort and his sister Agnetha are ‘frevers’. Mort might look 10, but he’s actually 10 000 years old and his sister is only a little bit younger.

Sound great? Not if every time you touch down somewhere in history in your Retro 2.0 time machine, you have to go to school!

Mortified is the third book in the Mort chapter-book series and Mort and Agnetha think they have seen it all. They’ve already encountered Mongolian warlords, sabre-toothed tigers, rampaging Vikings and bloodthirsty dinosaurs. So, when the dastardly Trish Molyneux, Assistant Chief Education Inspector, is after them to go to school in our century, Mort and Agnetha escape in their time machine, aided by an odd assortment of historical characters.

They zap back to 1889, to Swaffham, an idyllic, but dull-looking English town. Who should they bump into but Arthur Conan Doyle (of Sherlock Holmes fame) who is running around with a chicken jammed on his head. They also bump into a boy, Howard Carter (later discoverer of Tutankhamun’s tomb), and Queen Victoria, who is travelling on a steam train that’s on a collision course with the Retro 2.0.

After a calamitous meeting, they all end up inside the Retro 2.0 and take off time-travelling. The Retro 2.0’s switchboard jams and the mishmashed group is ‘bounced from one famous historical disaster to another.’

From sailing on the Titanic to sparking off the Great Fire of London, they lurch through history finally landing in ancient Egypt where they’re imprisoned. They’re deemed to make tasty morsels for the Nile River crocodiles, especially One Gulp Gus.

They escape through a poo-filled sewer where they’re chased by zombie-mummies.

Is Trish Molyneux, Assistant Chief Education Inspector successful in reining the time-travelling siblings back to school? I can’t give too much away.

Numerously awarded author, Martin Chatterton, lets his wild imagination loose as he takes readers on a rollicking, hysterical ride through history. His clever and playfully-creepy drawings will further entice 8 – 10 year old boys to read more. And if you’ve missed the first two books in the series, there’s a tantalising entrée to Chatterton’s first instalment at the back of the book.

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