Make Time for Paige Britt's Lost Track of Time

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Lost Track of Time Paige Britt Scholastic Critical Blast review

When you initially fall into Paige Britt's THE LOST TRACK OF TIME -- and make no mistake: you fall into this book, you don't just dip your toe into it -- you may, if you're a reader of some experience, find yourself in familiar territory. So familiar, in fact, that I kept waiting for Norton Juster's Milo to drive past looking for the off ramp to THE PHANTOM TOLLBOOTH.

Which I should now clarify by saying that THE LOST TRACK OF TIME is absolutely nothing like THE PHANTOM TOLLBOOTH; it's more a literary fraternal twin, if anything. But I digress.

The heroine of our tale is Penelope, who has a bright future ahead of her. Her mother sees to that. Penelope's every waking moment is scheduled to the minute, leaving her scant moments a day to pursue her true passion -- writing down snippets of fantastic stories kept in a notebook hidden under her bed. When it comes to time for herself, her mother doesn't budge. Her father is of little help, either, as he has long become accustomed to having his life planned out for him. Her only refuge is the small break she gets each day to visit her elderly neighbor, a wise older woman who knows how to pace herself, lets phones ring unanswered, and makes a slow cup of tea.

When even that gets taken away from Penelope, she panics. And then comes a day she never expected -- the day when her mother turns the page in her calendar, and finds that a page got stuck to another. It's empty, with absolutely nothing scheduled. As her mother prepares to quickly fill it in so those hours aren't wasted, Penelope grabs the page, darts out of the house to see her friend, and finds magic.

While at her friend's home, contemplating her life, Penelope falls into the empty page much like Butch Patrick's character in Sid & Marty Krofft's LIDSVILLE. She lands in the Realm of Possibility, a place where anything is possible -- or used to be, until Chronus took over and began to chisel away at the mountainous Range of Possibilities. Now most of the population have been converted into Clockworkers, shoving Time Pieces into Time Slots so that the great clock continues to rule all. When she meets Dill, Penelope learns of someone who can help her think of a way home -- and perhaps help everyone else in the Realm: The Great Moodler, who disappeared years ago after Chronus established his rule.

What follows is a fast-paced quest-slash-romp through adventurous wordplay that will have you considering possibilities and examining common phrases in a whole new light. Continuing in the tradition of such writers like Lewis Carroll and Norton Juster, Paige Britt's THE LOST TRACK OF TIME is a clever delight as Penelope learns to trust her instincts, listen to her hunches, tickle her fancies, and believe in herself -- and know that anything is possible. I can't wait to read this one again.

5.0 / 5.0