This classic Canadian young reader’s book has been updated (it was originally published in 2000) with illustrations, new dialogue, shorter chapters and new resources, such as Historical Notes, Ask the Author and Questions for Discussion. Tunnels of Time combines adventure and history to create a fascinating read, even for this mature reader!
The story is that of Andrea Talbot, a thirteen-year-old girl who reluctantly accompanies her family to her cousin’s wedding rehearsal party in the basement banquet room of the Four Star Cafe in downtown Moose Jaw. It is there that she and the other guests are told the story of the famous tunnels under Moose Jaw that were used by gangsters in the days of Prohibition in the U.S to run illegal liquor south of the border. Andrea, in a moment of excitement, runs into the tunnel opening and runs right into a mirror, knocking herself out cold. When she “wakes up” she finds herself transported back in time to the 1920s. She meets a boy named Vance who mistakes Andrea for a boy (because of her 21st-century short hairstyle) and recruits her to run the tunnels for various Moose Jaw undesirables.
Along the way, she encounters characters such as Big Al (Scarface), his girl Rosie, Vance’s little sister Beanie and others. She learns some life lessons in the few short hours she is in the tunnels, too. Trust, friendship and respect for those who love you and doing right by them as well.
Andrea felt as if she was being torn in two. She owed Ol’ Scarface her loyalty and help, didn’t she? After all, he had been a friend to her, no matter what Vance thought. Big Al hadn’t gotten angry, even when she’d screamed so loudly in his ear. And yet he was a criminal and he had hurt both her and Vance. On top of everything else, he was willing to throw Vance over, making Andrea his new best tunnel boy. Her mind teetered back and forth, thoughts racing.
Oh, what to do! Nothing was clear anymore. Doing right and wrong seemed all mixed up in her mind. Should she wait for Vance or run and let Big Al know that there was about to be a raid and he was the number one target? Or should she just pretend that she had never overheard that particular conversation and let him get captured? These thoughts and many more bombarded her brain, giving her a sudden and intense headache.
As I mentioned earlier, this was a fun and fast-paced read for me. It was interesting to learn more about Moose Jaw and the tunnels that are there to this day. The characters are well-written and the scattered illustrations by Wendi Nordell add to the story. Recommended for young middle-grade readers and their parents, too!
Mary Harelkin Bishop has been a writer since she was nine years old. She cannot imagine her life without writing. She is an award-winning author of several best-selling books, including this updated and revised version of her first published book, Tunnels of Time. Her other books in addition to this Moose Jaw Time Travel Adventure series are Skye Bird and the Eagle Feather; Mistasinîy: Buffalo Rubbing Stone; Seeds of Hope: A Prairie Story; Gina’s Wheels; and Moving Forward: The Journey of Paralympian Colette Bourgonje. Mary has been a teacher, a teacher-librarian, and an educational/ instructional consultant with Saskatoon Public Schools and has spent more than half her career working in core neighbourhood schools. Mary considers herself a Prairie person and loves writing about the Canadian Prairies and its strong, resilient people with their exciting and unique stories. She loves working with young people on their own writing and offers many workshops and writing experiences. Her favourite thing, though, is playing with her grandchildren.
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