Thursday, February 21, 2013

Magic in Stories for Children: Part Eight - Magic and Time Travel

In my own books, I have relied upon magic to effect the time travel sequences, rather than using a mechanical device, and children have found this much more engaging than reading about a machine which has intricate controls, switches and dials. In my school workshops where students invent their own time machines and methods, very often highly sophisticated devices are created, but readers still prefer to read about something that makes them suspend their disbelief.

In The Alchemist’s Portrait, Matthew visits the city museum on a field trip with his school and meets a boy his own age, trapped inside his own portrait for over three hundred years. Matthew can step into the painting from the outside and once within the picture, he can view images from all the different time periods where the painting was displayed on walls in the past. And just as he can step into the portrait from the outside, when he is inside the picture Matthew can step through and travel back in time, choosing the era in which he wishes to emerge based on the image shown in the frame.

In The Sorcerer’s Letterbox, magic again plays a major role in the story when Jack travels to 1483 on a desperate mission to save the Princes in the Tower of London from the clutches of King Richard III. By the use of magic, Jack is able to correspond through time by means of a scroll placed in the drawer of a wooden box dating back to the Middle Ages. When he makes his initial journey into the past, a mysterious wheel in the box has to be turned anticlockwise in order for him to travel to 1483. This is a mechanical device, to be sure, but the trip back in time is still facilitated by magic, rather than by scientific means.

In The Emerald Curse, Sam discovers that his grandfather, the world’s foremost comic book artist and writer, is trapped in a bizarre comic book universe derived from his own imagination. This time there is a magic object involved - the magical pen with an enigmatic green gemstone embedded in the barrel which Charles Kelly used to create all his famous artwork and stories over the years. Using this same pen, Sam is able to communicate with his grandfather and by drawing himself within the panels of the story, travels into the comic book world in order to rescue his grandfather.

Learn more about The Alchemist's PortraitThe Sorcerer's LetterboxThe Clone Conspiracy,  The Emerald CurseThe Heretic's TombThe Doomsday MaskThe Time Camera and my many non-fiction books on my website.

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