Time Shifters

illus. by Chris Grine. 272p. Scholastic/Graphix. May 2017. Tr $24.99. ISBN 9780545926591; pap. $12.99. ISBN 9780545926577.
Gr 3–7—A few months after the accidental drowning death of his brother, Luke discovers a strange, glowing device in the woods behind his home. When he is attacked by a trio of dangerous monsters looking for the object, he inadvertently uses it to escape, along with another group of strangers who are seeking the device, to a parallel dimension inhabited by cowboy insects. There, Luke learns that the device can transport people through the multiverse and even through time. His new friends have been on the run, keeping the device from a powerful villain determined to use it to control the multiverse. Will they be able to escape being eaten or captured long enough for the device to recharge and get Luke home? And if the device really can move people through time, can he possibly save his brother? The art is similar in style to that of Jeff Smith's "Bone" books. Simple, clean, and attractive, it fits the tone of the narrative but doesn't do much to propel the story. Though this first installment in a new graphic novel series is an entertaining and funny adventure, there are some holes in the plot and some thinly drawn characters. Luke is the most well-developed character, and while readers will easily empathize with him and his situation, even some of his choices are contrived. However, these issues may be addressed in subsequent books, and the story's premise and action are engaging. With the device, the narrative literally has the potential to go anywhere.
VERDICT For graphic novel fans who appreciate plenty of action and adventure.

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