Two boys' journey to a time past

PUBLISHED : Monday, 27 June, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 27 June, 2011, 12:00am


Tommy Tan and the Bowl of Time
By Peter Cain
Published by Young Haven/Haven Books
ISBN 978 9881 80943 8

Time travel adventures featuring teens are nothing new. Yet Peter Cain's Tommy Tan and the Bowl of Time manages to add a new twist to the genre. Any novel where the means of time travel is an ancient Chinese ceramic bowl certainly has to be worth a look.

One day Tommy Tan, who lives in Manchester, and his best friend, John Cresswell, set about exploring the loft of the Tans' house. They come across a beautiful ceramic bowl and a pair of ornate chopsticks. They become curious immediately.

Soon after, on holiday, John comes across an ancient book called Chinese Magic Potions and Spells. There on a page staring up at him is a picture of the exact same bowl under the heading 'Devices for Transportation'.

The bowl, it turns out, can transport people from one place and time to another. Yet the boys discover that Tommy's parents have just sold the bowl to a second-hand dealer. They must get the bowl back at all costs.

The book alternates between the boy's doings and ancient China, where Prince Wat Su is defending his land against attacks by the warrior Boon Kong.

These two story strands are bound to come together. Sure enough, it isn't long before Tommy and John are whisked back to ancient China, where high adventure awaits them.