Time Machine and Other Stories by Melinda Szymanik

2020 New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults Junior Fiction Finalist

Like a lolly mixture or a surprise toy you never know what exciting things you’ll discover in a short story collection and this one has something for everyone. In this collection from Melinda Szymanik there’s a magical soup to help with maths, a messy monster under the bed, an extraterrestrial mum, a mysterious crocodile tooth, and a boy who gets kidnapped by pirates. There is a really good range of stories that kids could read themselves or a teacher could read them aloud to a class.

I like how Crocodile Dreaming and Time Machine II are separate stories but also interconnected and they gave me a classic Paul Jennings vibe. They reminded me of watching Round the Twist growing up. My absolute favourite story (and the one I keep thinking about) is The Gift. It’s a haunting story about the lengths a sibling goes to for their sister. It’s one of those perfect short stories that I know I’ll remember and come back to again and again.

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