Great Illustrated Books

Cartboy and the Time Capsule

By L.A. Campbell

Starscape, 2013
Pages : 205
Suggested Ages: 9-13
ISBN: 9780765333179

There is barely a mom alive today who is not part of something called “book club.”For reasons my brain can’t begin to process, once a month they all get together at someone’s house to discuss a book they have read for fun.Not because they had to read the book, but because they wanted to.

That’s Hal Rifkind – sixth grader -- writing to some future being who, his history teacher tells him, will find his notebook 100 years from now in the time capsule his class is going to bury.

This illustrated novel is that journal – Hal’s way of explaining what the world is like now and, along the way, figuring out for himself how to get his own life on track. This is no easy feat.His father, worried about how heavy Hal’s school books are, has made Hal wheel them around in an old, squeaky shopping cart. Hence – Cartboy!.He loves his twin baby sisters, but he definitely does not love sharing a bedroom with them.But Hal will never get a room of his own if he doesn’t pass history.

Then there’s the whole question of the school dance.No way.Until somehow he winds up there. Want more?Mom turns the family into vegans. Hal has to play a stoat in the class production of The Wind in the Willows.Could it be worse? Yes!He forgets his line and falls off the stage. Then, when he volunteers to clean-up at the town Historical Society, it turns out they think he’s volunteered to give a talk about history.  History!

And the deepest cut of all: Arnie Gianelli, his life-long best friend, has betrayed him, sharing their secret of how to win RavenCave with the Ryan Horner, Hal’s vowed enemy. Or, Hal thinks he did.

There are lots of laughs and lots of truth in Cartboy.Readers – even the most reluctant ones – will enjoy both.

Reviewed by : LLW


If you love this book, then try:

Greenwald, Tommy. Charlie Joe Jackson's Guide to Summer Vacation. Roaring Brook Press, 2013.

Pastis, Stephan. Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made. Candlewick, 2013.

Patterson, James and Chris Tebbets. Middle School: How I Survived Bullies, Broccoli, and Snake Hill. Little, Brown and Company, 2013.

Critics have said

"Diary of a Wimpy Kid lovers rejoice���you may have found a new friend to laugh with and follow for the next several years."

"Campbell's debut is fast and funny and dotted with drawings, labeled pictures and goofy timelines."
Kirkus Reviews