Time for Andrew: A Ghost Story
by Hahn, Mary Downing. (Clarion, 1994 ISBN 0-395-66556-6) Novel. 165 pages. Grades 4+.
This book was reviewed by Carol Otis Hurst in Teaching K-8 Magazine.
Drew (real name Andrew) is to stay the summer with his great-aunt in an old house she has recently inherited while his parents go to Europe. Shortly after his arrival, he meets his wheel-chair bound and senile great-uncle. He also gets his first glimpse of a ghost: a young boy, Andrew, who looks exactly like him and who is about to die from diptheria. Convinced that a body exchange is his only hope of surviving, Andrew tricks Drew into exchanging bodies. At first furious at his plight, Drew begs Andrew whom he meets each night in the attic to reverse the exchange, especially since it is now apparent that Andrew, thanks to modern medicine, has survived the disease. Andrew is concerned about his fate, however, and refuses to go back in time. Gradually each boy grows to love the people in his new life and to feel less and less like his real self.
Time for Andrew, besides being good, exciting reading, is a book that has so many things in common with other books that it makes an ideal starting place for some parallel reading. The contrast between the two sides of a single individual, the daredevil versus the compliant, in this case, is brought into sharper focus in Avi's Devil's Race. The concept of being caught in time is not original with this book, of course. Students might like to read other time travel books to discover other uses of this plot device. At the end of Time for Andrew he meets the adult present life personages he met back in time. This also happens in Pearce's Tom's Midnight Garden and in Janet Lunn's The Root Cellar and, of course, in the "Back to the Future" movies, among others. This could lead to writing activities or discussions about family or historical figures from the past and what it would be like to meet them in today's world.