A Message Through Time by Anna Ciddor

A Message Through Time
Author: Anna Ciddor
Published: April, 2023
Publisher: Allen and Unwin
Readership: Middle Fiction
Rating: ★★★★
RRP: $17.99

I received a copy of A Message Through Time from the publishers for review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.




A pacey and action-packed time-slip adventure that carries step-siblings Felix and Zoe back to Ancient Roman times – and also, accidentally, drags a Roman girl into the present.

When 11-year-old Felix finds a message in a bottle during a trip to France, he is in for the surprise of a lifetime. Suddenly he is flung back 1700 years to Ancient Roman times, dragging his very unwilling 15-year-old stepsister, Zoe, with him.

They are offered sparrows for lunch and horse-spit as medicine, but that is only the beginning! When they ricochet forward to their own time again, Felix and Zoe discover they have accidentally brought a high-class Roman girl with them… Can they navigate the strange Roman world – from opulent city to distant sacred spring – and return the 12-year-old girl to her family before time runs out?

In this standalone companion novel to the acclaimed The Boy Who Stepped Through Time, featuring a whole new cast of characters, award-winning author Anna Ciddor has created a roller-coaster adventure that will have young readers on the edge of their seats.

Step-siblings Felix and Zoe are on a holiday with their parents in France when Felix finds an object that accidentally sends them back to Ancient Rome via the ruins of a Roman bathhouse. Upon returning to the present day they realise they’ve unintentionally brought a young Roman noble woman with them and have to return her to her time, braving unscrupulous sailors, ancient house parties and figuring out the way back home again.

A Message In Time by Anna Ciddor is an Australian middle grade story that’s a companion book to 2021’s The Boy Who Stepped Through Time. It’s an entertaining and engaging timeslip novel with plenty of Ancient Roman facts that will delight (and occasionally, disgust) young readers. It’s been well-researched – Ciddor has worked alongside her sister who specialises in ancient history – and is full of adventure.

I especially enjoyed the dynamic between Felix and Zoe, who are still developing their sibling relationship as a result of their newly blended family. There’s a lot of care and love between them, but also the typical sibling annoyances. There’s plenty of great messages around standing up to bullies and believing in yourself, too, making this a great read aloud for the classroom. The book also includes a map, some illustrations throughout the text and an excellent glossary for those who want to know more about the truth behind the history in the book.


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