A Circle in Time.
Peggy Dymond Leavey.
Grades 4 - 7 / Ages 9 - 12.
Grades 4 - 7 / Ages 9 - 12.
I was 12 years old already and not a single interesting thing had happened in my entire life. Unless you counted the birth of my twin sisters, which I didn't. But that was before that Saturday last November when the strangest thing happened. Afterwards, everything was different.This time slip novel, Leavey's second early adolescent novel, is well suited to middle school readers who like a realistic story placed in a realistic setting. Because the story is told in the first person, readers are drawn into the mystery. Wren, 12, finds a dressing room mirror in the old, abandoned movie studio in her home town of Trenton, Ontario. She asks her father to purchase it for her as a souvenir of that time in the 1920's when the community was known for its movie making. But Wren's interest in the mirror is more than just as a keepsake for, first at the studio and then in her bedroom, Wren sees figures in the mirror. In the first instance, it was a man; in the second, a young girl, and each was dressed in clothing from the past. Wren is both curious and somewhat spooked by the occurrences. When she tries to have her parents and younger siblings see what she has seen, they cannot. One day, however, she is whisked 70 years into the past where she becomes friends with the girl, Darlene Donaldson, the lonely daughter of the British movie director. On later visits, Wren comes to the attention of Mr. Donaldson who offers her a bit part in the movie. While Wren never makes her acting debut, she does see her grandparents as young extras. The plot coincidences are believable when timing is crucial, and the characters are interesting and credible. An effective plot tie occurs via the use of chapter headings which are written in mirror image. The title's meaning becomes clear at the book's conclusion as characters from the past connect with the present, thereby creating a "circle in time."
On that particular Saturday, Dad's regular helper, Dennis was home with the flu and, although Dad had said he could manage by himself, (He was, after all, only on a scouting mission), I offered to go along. It was either that or stay home with the sitter as if I too were only seven years old.
"Better put that extra hard hat on before we go inside," my father advised when we arrived at our destination and I hopped down from the truck into the bitter wind that blew off the river. While Dad adjusted the plastic strap inside the hat so that it would fit my head. I studied the building we were about to enter.
Known only as the studio, the building hadn't been used as anything for a long time. It was too costly to maintain as a vacant building,and now the Heritage Committee had lost its fight to save it. It was scheduled for demolition at the end of January. Dad and I were here today because he was looking for some special molding for a renovation he was doing for a local doctor.
"You back again, Jim?" A man with a clipboard greeted Dad at the door and followed us into the building. "Say, didn't you have your name down for one of the old filing cabinets? Looks like we'll be able to start clearing that stuff out the first of the week." He smiled then at me. "Who's your new assistant?"
"This is my eldest daughter, Wren," dad said, and I felt the gentle pressure of his hand on the top of my hat. "Don't let her size fool you, though. She's pretty good with a crowbar."
Peggy Dymond Leavey can write with authority about the plot's historical setting for she has also written The Movie Years which chronicles Trenton from 1917-34. A Circle in Time, which has a place in school, public and personal libraries, is recommended for individual and class reading.
Deborah Mervold is a teacher-librarian in a grade 6-12 school and a Grade 12 English teacher at Shellbrook Composite High School in Saskatchewan.
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TABLE OF CONTENTS FOR THIS ISSUE - FEBRUARY 27, 1997.
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