This is my favorite middle grade time travel book. I absolutely love it. Originally called GIDEON THE CUTPURSE, the cover grabbed my attention in my local library about two years ago. It was a die-cut outline of a stone wall, with a man's eye peering through--slightly creepy but wicked cool.
This is the description from the official webpage...
"A chance encounter with an anti-gravity machine catapults Peter Schock and Kate Dyer back to the 18th century and sets in motion a calamitous chain of events."
From School Library Journal
"Starred Review. Grade 5-8–Peter and Kate, 12, have literally stumbled from the 21st century back to 1763, and even though they are still in England, many things have changed. Their time travel must be connected to the antigravity machine Kate's father has been working on, but since it has been stolen by a vicious criminal called The Tar Man, they really have no choice but to trust Gideon, the stranger whose offer of help seems genuine enough, even if he is known as a cutpurse. Buckley-Archer may very well give J. K. Rowling a run for her money. This wonderfully rich and complex novel, written in lyrical and vivid language, is destined to be a classic. History interweaves with science, social issues in both centuries are thrown in; yet what readers will remember most is a fast-paced plot with a cliff-hanger ending and multidimensional characters who continue to inhabit their thoughts long after the book is closed. With appeal for reluctant and advanced readers, this novel is a rare gem."
I love the characters of Peter and Kate. They're 12--and strangers when the book begins. They wake up in 1763 after accidentally triggering a science experiment. They have to rely on each other and end up being really good friends. Gideon is a cutpurse (pick-pocket) who ends up being one of their only friends. He witnesses their arrival, so he believes their story. Linda does a great job of portraying two modern English kids in eighteenth century London. For a real treat, get this book on audio and listen to Gerard Doyle's great interpretation.
The book is now known as THE TIME TRAVELERS and the cover looks like this:
The sequels THE TIME THIEF and TIME QUAKE aren't quite as good as the first one, but they round out the story of Kate and Peter, and of course Gideon.
If you like time travel and/or history, you'll love this book. It's well worth the ride.