Chronal Engine: A Prehistoric Time-Travel Adventure Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
When Max, Kyle, and Emma are sent to live with their reclusive grandfather, they think he's crazy, especially when he tells them about his time machine. But after Emma is kidnapped at the exact time that her grandfather predicted, Max and Kyle are forced to believe his eccentric stories - even the one about the Chronal Engine in the basement.
Now, to save Emma, Max, Kyle, and their new friend Petra must pile into a VW Bug, and use the Chronal Engine to take the road trip of a lifetime - right back to the Cretaceous period. With dangers all around, the teens find themselves dodging car-crushing herbivores in addition to the terrifying T. Rex. In this ancient environment, can three contemporary teens hunt down a kidnapper, forage for food, and survive long enough to return home?
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|Listening Length||3 hours and 38 minutes|
|Author||Greg Leitich Smith|
|Audible.com.au Release Date||02 January 2014|
|Best Sellers Rank||
21,901 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals)
37 in Survival Stories for Children
51 in Fiction About Siblings for Young Adults
56 in Time Travel Sci-Fi Books for Young Adults
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Alex and his brother and sister, twins Kyle and Emma, are being shipped off to their crazy, reclusive grandfather's house for the summer while their mother trots off to the far reaches of the earth to dig for bones. This is the same house where Tyrannosaur footprints were found fossilized in a creek bed. But their grandfather cut the prints off to the public years ago and now the kids get to see how the crazy old man really lives. Once there, things don't stop being strange. Their grandfather showed them his prized possession- the Chronal Engine.
The Chronal Engine is a time machine. The kids think it is just a large and rather strange decoration, but when their grandfather predicts his own heart attack and gives the kids a cryptic message, they suspect it isn't as useless as they once thought. When Emma is kidnapped and *poof* disappears into thin air, they know she has been taken back in time. Their only hope for saving their sister is to follow her, but that means a whole host of giant creatures that want to eat them, squash them, or just plain terrify them. Can they get to Emma before she becomes dinosaur food?
This was a really quick, fun little middle reader. It is definitely for the younger crowd, most likely late elementary to early middle school students. The story is fun and adventurous, and the characters are interesting. The story is relatively short, so there isn't a lot of background knowledge or a huge amount of character development, but for this age-group, that isn't a problem. You really don't want a cryptic, complex story for a middle reader. There are some plot holes as well, or things that aren't fully explained or resolved, but I imagine a younger student would be so wrapped up in the dinosaurs to notice!
The dinosaurs are really cool. In fact, I love that Alex is a dinosaur buff (shocker when his mom is a paleontologist, right?!). He is that great little kid who knows everything about dinosaurs and isn't afraid to hide it! The beauty of this kind of story is that it can show a kid that knowledge is cool! Without knowledge, the kids never would have saved Emma and gotten back home! I love a book that shows kids how being interested and smart is an asset, not something "nerdy"! So put this books on your shelves, teachers and librarians, because it is a fantastic middle reader and will be great for boys and girls alike. But be very, very still... there is a T-rex right behind you!
The idea of a group of teenagers going back in time on an adventure and trying to survive at a time when dinosaurs were on the earth is certainly an intriguing one, particularly for younger readers. My main concern with the story it there are too many plot points, events, or items that are under-utilized or not completely explained. For example, when the kids go back in time they take a VW Beetle (on the instructions of their grandfather, who somehow thinks they'll need it). The car is even mentioned in the book's promotional material. With the exception of a short drive down the beach the car almost immediately gets wrecked. What was the point of including it in the story?
Because this is a story about time travel there is a fair amount of interaction between the present, past, and future (things from the future appearing in the past to help the characters on their adventure, for example). Generally, unless there's a sequel planned, the reader wants it all sorted out and explained by book's end. That doesn't happen here, and leaves the conclusion rather weak and somewhat incomprehensible. To illustrate my point (and at the cost of giving away a plot detail--warning!) one of the main characters is kidnapped in the present time by someone from the past because she was instrumental in the inventing of the Chronal Engine, which was invented in the past. That's something crucial to the book--it's what initiates the main story line--but it is never explored or explained. The reader is left hanging, and I think this will be confusing or irritating for younger readers.
I liked the accurate portrayal of prehistoric times (obviously very well-researched), as well as an accurate portrayal of sibling relationships. I also loved the Texas-specific content. We live in a suburb of Dallas -- not Austin, but we visit family there; many of the place-specific information was familiar and "just right." I also like the fact that, while the three siblings appear to be biracial, that fact is so unimportant that it is never even mentioned.
Though I really enjoyed the descriptions of plant life, I did find it hard to believe that a teenage boy would know that much about plants -- or be that interested in them. (I realize that Max says that he finds plants boring, but he still talks/writes about them a lot.) The vocabulary and imagery are also a little sophisticated for this first-person narrator -- but I enjoyed the author's writing style so much, I cannot "count off" for it.
This book would appeal to children who enjoy dinosaurs or adventure stories. There is some violence (no sex or even kissing and no fowl language), but my daughter is the ultimate "wimp" and she was not bothered by it. I think that anyone from 7 to adult could enjoy the tale, but 8 to 14 year olds are probably the target audience.
CHRONAL ENGINE is an excellent middle grade fiction novel that will delight all ages. Full of page-turning action and adventure, CHRONAL ENGINE is pure jam-packed fun. I enjoyed reading this book, and I can't wait to read it to my 7 year old daughter later this summer.
So what happens when three kids go to visit their crazy, old grandfather, who just happens to have a time machine in the basement? Well, I can tell you that very quickly, you have thrilling survival story set in the Cretaceous period, with dinosaurs (large and small) and human enemies all around. CHRONAL ENGINE will definitely keep you on the edge of your seat at any age.
CHRONAL ENGINE is a short novel (less than 200 pages), appropriate for 4th - 8th graders or for younger advanced readers. The writing style is simple and clear without detracting from the excitement of the story. It is fill with facts about the dinosaurs and the environment of the Cretaceous period (which all dinosaur enthusiasts will love) and has plausible explanation for the existence of time travel. And there are several unforeseen twists at the end to let you know that a sequel is in the works. HOORAY!
CHRONAL ENGINE is a thoroughly enjoyable story, one that you will happily share with your kids. If you like adventure, survival, dinosaurs, or time travel, then CHRONAL ENGINE is for you. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.