MUTINY IN THE TIME MACHINE BY DONALD KEITH

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Copyright 1963.

Two boy scouts Bob Tucker and Ellsworth “Brains” Baynes are going to their scout meeting. They cut through a canyon and find a time machine that was uncovered in a recent rock slide. Brains the smart one figures out how it works and the two start taking trips through time. They land in the far future of 5000 A.D. They are captured by a scouting troop. The people of the future are small, bald and toothless. To these future people the boys from 1960 look like savage cavemen. The boys make a friend in Kai a sensitive scout who is an orphan. With his help they escape and take him back to their time.

Later they pick up a young Spartan named Dion from ancient Greece. He helps train the scout troop for the annual Jamboree competition. At some time the group decides to find out who created the time machine and access the monitor that shows events anywhere in time. They find out the machine was covered up by a tribe of Indians back in pre-Columbian times. They rescue a man who is called The Widget. He used the machine from 2030. The Widget and the inventor went back to the Indian tribe to get a formula that can cure the common cold. The Widget convinces Baynes and Dion to revolt and go to the Johnstown Flood in 1889. There is a descendant of the tribe peddling the cure as a traveling salesmen. Now Tucker must somehow rescue his mutinous friends from the evil Widget as the approaching flood threatens them.

So this is another book from my childhood that I decided to seek out. This was checked out from the school library when I was in grade school. The book is a collection of serialized stories for Boy’s Life the magazine of the Boy Scouts. It appeared in the sixties and seventies and the first stories were put together in this book. Its actually a fun book to read. Naturally it has many Boy Scout themes in it. I remember the creepy future with the toothless and bald people. Finding a time machine lying around and going off exploring the past and future sounds like a real fun thing for young boys. Hell it would be fun as an adult. A fun and enjoyable read for children and adults.

FROM THE MIXED-UP FILES OF MRS. BASIL E. FRANKWEILER BY E.L. KONIGSBURG

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Copyright 1967.

Claudia Kincaid is a young eleven year old girl who feels unappreciated by her parents. So she decides to run away. She doesn’t want to just run away but run to somewhere. Somewhere comfortable, beautiful and preferably elegant. So she chooses the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art. She recruits her nine year old brother Jaime to accompany her. Jaime is the one with all the money for he cheats at cards with his friend and has a whole $24 dollars. The two successfully take the train to New York and go to the museum. They hide in the restrooms just before it closes and they have the place all to themselves. They sleep in the old beds. Bath in the fountain in the restaurant and collect change in the fountain to supplement their income. In the day they mingle with school tour groups.

The museum has a brand new exhibit that is attracting crowds. A statue of cupid that might be a work of Michelangelo. It was bought from the reclusive Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler for a bargain price of $225. Experts are still divided that this is a genuine Michelangelo sculpture. Claudia becomes obsessed with the mystery and embarks on solving it. A mystery that leads her to the Connecticut home of Mrs. Frankweiler.

This was one of those books that they read to us back in fourth or fifth grade. For some reason it came to mind and doing a quick Google search I found out the title. This was one of those books that I remember well since the premise was so fun as a kid. I mean who wouldn’t want to run away to the museum. Now some things are probably a bit dated. I don’t think with modern cameras and alarms that this could be accomplished today. This is still a charming book that is enjoyable forty some years later.

THE MONSTER FLY AND OTHER STORIES OF THE UNREAL BY CHARLES A. PIDDOCK

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Copyright 1974

THE MONSTER FLY

Sam and Charlie are hiding out from the police outside Yuma City. They see what looks like a plane crash and decide to get out before the police arrive. They drive to the crash site and find a giant ball that changes color. It releases white spheres from an opening. They hatch giant flies which attack them. Later the citizens of Yuma City are attacked by giant flies.

TO THE MIDDLE OF THE EARTH

Captain Leo Leopold is in a meeting with the President of the United States. Seems that Dassia is drilling to the center of the Earth to plant a bomb. They then can threaten to blow up the Earth unless their demands are met. So Leo is to drill down and leave a device that will neutralize the bomb. So he drills down and ends up in Hell with the devil waiting for him.

THE MEN FROM OUTER SPACE

Two aliens Kral and Gak land on a strange new world. They are attacked by a giant centipede. Then they are crushed by the foot of little Billy Cranshaw. The two year old makes sure no more visitors will ever come to planet Earth.

THE TIME MACHINE

Red and Billy are two bums looking for a warm place to spend the night. They come on a garage and see a guy who is building something leave. Going in they find that the thing he was working on is a time machine. They try it out and end up in 1944. The appearance of the machine causes a car to hit a ten year old. When the two go to help they find out it is Red as a child. They jump back into the machine and go back to the present. Only Red is not their. Billy goes to the police and finds out that Red dies as a child in 1944.

THE ZOO

Robert Harrison is upset at his family. They seem content with their lives. While getting drunk mechanical arms come out of the wall and restrain him. His family continue on as if nothing has happened. Later in the morning they join the neighborhood as they go out and play sports. A tram comes along with aliens to see the human exhibit. A voice warns not to feed the humans but the aliens do anyway. As his family go to get the food Robert cries.

NIGHT DRIVER

Cindy is driving home in a winter night in Kansas. A snowstorm causes her car to break down. Luckily a truck comes by and gives her a lift. The man seems friendly but mysteriously talks about saving a lot more lives. She is dropped off at an old couples home and finds out the man is a ghost. He died in a crash that killed a bus full of kids and now goes around trying to make amends.

THE SPIDER GOD

Captain Billy Joe Smith is with some South Vietnamese soldiers checking out a village. A building is still standing and they chase a VC into it. A fight ensures and Billy sees it is some temple. Filled with cages of spiders and an idol of a giant spider. Billy puts out his cigar in the eyes of the idol offending the Spider God. Years later in Denver him and his little daughter are attacked by hordes of spiders. Back in the village the idols eyes then start to glow signaling that the god has been avenged.

So this was a book that I checked out of the school library when I was in second grade. It is written for young kids and has illustrations on every other page to show what the story is trying to convey. The illustrations by Richard Maccabe are crude but effective in visualizing the story. I still vividly remember the drilling to Hell and meeting the Devil and the human zoo. The stories were quite effective on a young mind that I still remembered them after all these years and decided to search out this book. An enjoyable nostalgic trip back to my childhood.

THE BOXCAR CHILDREN BY GERTRUDE CHANDLER WARNER

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Copyright 1942.

Four young children Henry, Jessie, Violet and Benny are recently orphaned after their parents die. They go to a bakery looking for food. They offer to work for the food but soon have to flee when it becomes apparent the old couple who run the bakery plan to use them as slave labor and take the youngest to the orphanage. While fleeing in the country they come on an abandoned boxcar and use it for shelter from an approaching storm. After the storm they decide to live in the abandoned boxcar. They dam up the stream for a pool to bath in. They scrounge in the dumb for old plates and stuff to build furniture. They build a stove. The older brother Henry gets a job doing odd jobs from a kindly old doctor who still lives with his mother. They also find a dog and name him Watch. Life is idyllic for the young children until one of them gets ill and they must risk the adults finding out about them.

I guess I’m getting a bit nostalgic for the old books of my childhood. This book was read to us from first to fifth grade and I always enjoyed it. There is something cool about living in an abandoned boxcar when your a child. This book always did make me want to do just that. A spoiler is there is a happy ending. They find their grandfather who isn’t a mean man but very kindly. Also a loaded guy for he lives in a mansion and can afford to bring the old boxcar to his home for the kids to play in. This book does strike a nerve with most children for it was a highly popular book. What I didn’t know is that there is a whole series where the kids graduated to solving mysteries. It’s popularity lead the author to write nineteen books in the series until her death in 1979. The series continues to this day and there are hundreds of Boxcar Children mystery books written by many different authors. An idea that lives on to this day.