CM . . .
. Volume XXII Number 17. . . .January 8, 2016
If only Caspar had been able to leave the scooter alone. Then he would have had a peaceful day at school and not risked his very life! Julia Jarman’s The Magic Scooter, a great read, involves a scooter that has powers of flight. Okay, you might be thinking “A scooter that can fly? Big deal.” Well now, top that with TIME TRAVEL! That’s right. The Magic Scooter can fly AND travel through time! In this story, it travels to the days of Ancient Rome. Not by itself of course. It takes its rider, Caspar, who has just received the scooter as his birthday present. I do question the parent who buys a child an item such as this, but I suppose it’s better than yet another "screen." Well luckily, Caspar is no coward because he lands in the thick of an unfair battle set up in the Colosseum! Caspar must have a bit of a meddlesome streak in him because he agrees to help a young lass save her brother from this so called “fair” fight. She believes that Caspar will be perceived as a god (because he rides a TIME TRAVELLING FLYING SCOOTER!) and will be able to easily rescue her brother from this life and death battle. Caspar manages to use his scooter to swoop in and save the day. He even returns the two siblings to their native homeland and magically returns to school with no one noticing (time did NOT pass in his absence).
The Magic Scooter is a great read-aloud and has many uses in the classroom. I used it with my grade seven students to practice predicting. The book’s audience is clearly primary, but it is written well enough to be used in the older grades for literary practices.
The story is quite fun. I like the fact that the scooter is so distracting at school that he just can’t stop thinking about it and uses the “bathroom” excuse to go check on it. My class also noted that the scooter was parked at school in a COVERED rack (must be some private scooter academy or in Winnipeg during the winter), and was left UNLOCKED! The illustrations by Hearn are perfect for this story and are regularly used to assist in showing the plot. Kids will enjoy reading this story or hearing it as a read-aloud.
John Dryden teaches in Cowichan, BC.
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