The Maiden Voyage (TIMEFLIES, #1) by M.C. Goldrick

Written for middle-grade readers, TIMEFLIES takes the time travel trope in a different direction: the three children, Grizelda (Griz), Sam and his sister Alisha can only time travel to get answers to a question they pose. Once they get the answer, they are back in the present. Oh, and in their travels, they are three common houseflies. Different, isn’t it? And how do they get to perform this feat you ask?

Sam has purchased something magical from a mysterious man, using his birthday money: three amber cubes each with a common housefly suspended within. Sam explains to the girls:

“You ask a question, you lick the cube and close your eyes. When you open them, you’re at the place and time that holds the answer to that question. Past, present or future. You observe the surrounding environment to get the answer. Also, you’re a housefly.”

The first question they ask is how Griz got her name. Instantly, they are transported to Griz’ grandmother’s house in Sarnia where Jenny (Griz’ mother) they find the 9-year-old Jenny is hard at work in the kitchen. The story that unfolds before their eyes (compound ones, remember!) is insightful, once the three get used to flying and doing other fun fly activities. Griz thinks:

“This felt so weird. Not only our being flies but my mom, so young and innocent. I had never thought of her as a child before. I mean, I know she was one, but all I could ever picture was a smaller version of the woman I knew.”

The author deftly inserts little learning tidbits into the narrative, and there is a section of bonus educational materials at the back of the book, which is accessible on the Mother Butterfly Books website as well. The author informs me that the second book is in editing now and will be available later this 2018. It takes place in 1867 and is set in Manitoulin Island. The TIMEFLIES series looks like a sure bet for getting middle-graders to read something worthwhile.

The Maiden Voyage (TIMEFLIES, #1) by M.C. Goldrick
Mother Butterfly Books

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James M. Fisher is the owner and editor-in-chief of The Miramichi Reader. He began TMR in 2015, realizing that there was a genuine need for more book reviews of Canadian literature. It has since become Canada’s best-regarded source for the finest in new literary releases. James has been interviewed about TMR on CBC Radio and other media sites. James works as a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) Technologist and lives in Miramichi, New Brunswick with his wife Diane and their tabby cat Eddie.