Peculiar Picks

Peculiar Picks are a selection of odd, funny, interesting, curious, moving, irreverent, and otherwise wonderfully awesome, but perhaps not well known, reads. Peculiar Picks are books for younger readers and their grown-ups, handpicked by the Library's Youth Services Manager, Joshua Carlson.

I just love how time travel opens up possibilities for zany storytelling, but also some exploration of deeper ideas, such as cause and effect and the consequences of actions.

Oh No! Not Again! (Or How I Built a Time Machine to Save History) (Or at Least My History Grade) by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Dan Santat
Library Catalog
Sequel to the city-destroying robot rampage featured in the last Peculiar Picks column, Oh No! Not Again! sees the genius young girl of the first book going on a bogus journey to the dawn of mankind — all because she didn’t get a perfect score on her history test (She indicated that the earliest cave paintings were in Belgium, not France, however findings since the publication of of this picture book have uncovered paintings dating back earlier in Sulawesi). Rather than accept her grade, she decides to change history to make her answer right.

Things don’t go as planned.

The cavemen she visits steal the time machine and undertake a most excellent adventure through time causing such havoc that when she returns history has been so changed, her score is now an F! She was definitely less successful than others who have used time travel to help their history grade.

The Trouble with Time Travel by Stephen W. Martin, illustrated by Cornelia Li
Library Catalog
There’s a lot of charm to this book: from the illustrations that call to mind classic Little Golden Books, to the delightfully timey-wimey story shenanigans, to the fearless engineering young girl who invents a time machine. This, like Oh No, Not Again!, demonstrates the folly of messing with time travel, and how perhaps taking responsibility is a better idea than trying to change things in your favor.


T. Rex Time Machine by Jared Chapman
OverDrive / Library Catalog


T. Rex Time Machine: Dinos in De-Nile by Jared Chapman
OverDrive / Library Catalog


I do hope that there are more T. Rex Time Machine books. These books are hilarious, over-the-top, nonsensical, and madcap. When two hungry, not-that-smart, tiny-armed Tyrannosaurus Rexes eat a time traveler and then enter the time machine looking for more food, well… time travel shenanigans ensue.

Back to the Future by Kim Smith
OverDrive / Library Catalog
Great Scott! It’s the classic ‘80s time travel film Back to the Future retold as a picture book. While not all the books in the Pop Classics series work, Back to the Future actually does quite well (as does the Buffy the Vampire Slayer picture book and the Die Hard one, but the latter is definitely not for kids).

Categories: Authors & Books, Featured, Homepage Kids, Kids, and Library News.

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