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15 Minutes

Review

15 Minutes

Casey Little is always late. He's late for school so many days in a row that the principal has decided to give him detention for the rest of the year. But then something amazing happens. Casey gets the opportunity to turn back time and repeat the last 15 minutes; this time he isn't late for school because he knows what's going to happen since he's already been there. Wait. Instead of getting too far ahead of ourselves, let's go back in time like Casey.

Grandpop Little was also late for everything. As an amateur inventor, he built an amazing watch that Casey finds in the attic while searching for something to help him get to school and football practice on time. Casey is excited to find an old, weird-looking watch with some notes written by his Grandpop Jessie. Casey thinks he's discovered the answer to all of his problems until he tries to remove the watch. Every time he thinks he's taken it off, it magically reappears on his wrist. He soon realizes that this is no ordinary watch.

Even though lateness (and apparently zaniness) runs in the Little family, Casey really needs to get to school on time to save himself from detention hall. Grandpop's old watch seems just the ticket even though it doesn't keep time very well --- until Casey discovers how to "tell" time according to the "Go-back" watch. What Grandpop Little had left to his heirs was the ability to go back in time 15 minutes to supposedly avoid being late. Self-proclaimed smart aleck Casey tests the patience of time when he uses the "Go-back" watch to outsmart bullies, cheat on a history exam, and turn himself into Scieszka Middle School's greatest defensive football player.

15 MINUTES is full of average experiences for a 12-year-old, like toilet dunkings and pizza parties, but author Steve Young takes the idea of learning to make good choices to a whole new level as he artfully directs Casey forward and backward through time. Young writes with a great sense of humor for young readers and includes a turn for the zany or hilarious in almost every chapter, even chapter 10 1/2. Yes, you heard right! With time on his side, Young has the luxury of adding chapters between the regular ones to add to the overall silliness of the book.

In 15 MINUTES Young achieves the goal of explaining to young readers that failing is just another chance to learn how to be a success on your own without the limitations of tools or time.

Reviewed by Joy Held on August 1, 2006

15 Minutes
by Steve Young

  • Publication Date: August 1, 2006
  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins
  • ISBN-10: 0060725087
  • ISBN-13: 9780060725082