The Remarkable Journeys of Jason and Gareth
by Lloyd Alexander
Recommended reading age: 8-12 years
Lexile measure: 660L
Why we recommended
The author’s extensive research and personal tone allows Time Cat to combine accurate historical details with relatable, engaging characters, bringing each time-period to life. Lloyd Alexander leads us through an immersive historical journey that extends across time and continents, making the novel a perfect companion for young readers who are just beginning to learn about the world around them and the variety of cultures around the globe. Time Cat is highly recommended for those who are already interested in mythological/historical reading such as the Percy Jackson or Horrible Histories series. In particular, it makes excellent preparation for those who will study history in the future — the novel’s coverage of history between 55 B.C. to the 18th century A.D. creates a fantastic foundation for a range of time periods studied at secondary school level.
The value of the novel for a young reader also lies in the author’s approach to the different cultures he describes. While other historical fiction books often present the story from a single perspective (such as Percy Jackson that focuses on the Ancient Greeks), Lloyd Alexander includes nine different perspectives through the non-judgmental lens of a bright, empathetic boy. In this way, he encourages the readers to genuinely participate in and appreciate each culture for its traditions. This makes Time Cat uniquely valuable for children still learning how to approach cultures and ideas different to their own.
Older readers can also consider how these different perspectives conflict or agree. This particularly engages their critical thinking skills as they assess the validity of the various scientific and cultural ideas presented in each historical era. Such evaluation of perspectives is an immensely useful skill in future education including in essay-writing, debating and problem-solving.
Post-reading Questions & activities