Entertaining time-travelling quest with dashes of history, Nell Mace-David
July 28, 2022
Do you love time travel, New Zealand history, or adventure stories? Then, Amorangi and Millie’s Trip Through Time by Lauren Keenan is the book for you.
Amorangi never meant to lose his mum. It started out as just a normal day. Amorangi and Millie were looking forward to their ‘fluffy and chips’ after school, and grieving for their recently passed grandmother. I mean, how exactly do you lose your mum on a walk to school? And how does your mum get lost in time on a walk to school? But, no matter how impossible it sounds, it happened. And now Amorangi and his sister Millie have to find her.
With the help of their Mum’s pounamu (which has magical time-travelling powers), the kids must travel back through the branches of their family and collect an item from every generation, so that they will have anchors to be able to get back to their time. Oh, and they also have to get back to their time by sunset (which is a feat in itself), or they will be stuck in the past forever!
Keenan has spun a fun tale about the importance of family, friendship, and history, with plenty of time-travelling on the side.
This book was an enjoyable read. The first thing that really caught me was the concept, it was so interesting. The idea that you had to go back through each generation of your family tree. There are a lot of books about time travel, and this concept wasn’t really one that I’d read about before. The settings were also so vivid and detailed. I could see the picture of where the characters were in my head.
Unfortunately, I felt that the writing was unengaging in places. But this was just because the plot line wasn’t very complicated. While this doesn’t make it the best book for me, it means that it is accessible to people who don’t want to read something complex. Because of this, I felt that the characters hadn’t been developed enough to be relatable and the ending seemed a bit anticlimactic, but this is just my personal opinion.
The message this book really sent for me was that history can teach us a lot of things, and that even though some of those things are uncomfortable, we should remember them so that we don’t repeat them in the future. I found the bits about NZ history very interesting, not only because they send an important message, but because I like learning more about the history of our country.
Overall, Amorangi and Millie’s Trip Through Time was a pretty good book. It is very deserving of its position as a finalist in the NZ Children’s Book Awards. I will definitely be recommending this one to people aged 8 to 12, or just anyone who wants an entertaining, accessible book. Happy reading!
- Nell is 14, homeschooled, and lives in Dunedin