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Blast to the Past: Time Blasters
Blast to the Past: Time Blasters
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Reviewed Titles
Graphic Sparks

Blast to the Past: Time Blasters

by Scott Nickel
Illustrated by Steve Harpster

Tells the adventures of David and Ben who use a time machine to go back a few days, in order to retake a test that they failed.

PublisherStone Arch Books
BrandGraphic Sparks
Age Level8-10 Years
Reading LevelGrades 1-3
GenreFantasy & Science Fiction
Trim Size6 x 9
Page Count40



Children's Bookwatch-Midwest Book Review - James Cox

"Four quite fine new titles offer chapter books with a difference: action-packed bright covers and unique plots which kids will gravitate towards. Stan Cullimore’s Killer Sharks provides 32 pages concluded with internet links, topics for discussion and more as it provides a science fiction thriller of a top-secret project and sharks which threaten a family’s get-away. C. MacPhail’s Get That Ghost To Go! Provides a fantasy revolving around a ghost which has to follow Duncan everywhere. Can the school nerd’s plan for getting rid of the ghost succeed – and is Duncan willing to pay his price? Jeremy Stong’s Don’t Go In The Cellar tells of a boy warned not to go in the cellar- but who decides to embark on adventure when Laura comes visiting. The dangerous secrets they will find down there may change their lives in this fine fantasy adventure. Scott Nickel’s Blast To The Past provides an unusual graphic novel format for chapter readers – sure to encourage reluctant readers who struggle with lengthy words. Steve Harpster’s lovely full color drawings add excitement to a time travel story of a slobbering T. Rex’s threat. All are top picks reluctant readers will turn to as satisfying alternatives to dryer plots." - Children's Bookwatch-Midwest Book Review

May 1, 2009

The Graphic Classroom Blog - Chris Wilson

"THE CURRICULAR MELTING POT Not all teachers are open to new things, but there are those that embrace innovation. Second grade teacher, Mrs. Smotherman, is just such an educator. I did a two-week student teaching rotation in her classroom this Spring working with some wonderful children. The experience has enriched my learning and future teaching. Smotherman was interested in my work with comics and she asked me questions about it. I showed her many of my comics for primary grades and she saw the potential. At the beginning of my second day, she approached me and said that wanted the children to create comics as a way to demonstrate their learning. The evening before my second day Smotherman designed a lesson that combined traditional literature, comic literature, writing and art. Building upon the foundation already established using THE MAGIC TREE HOUSE #1: DINOSAURS BEFORE DARK, she helped the students discuss in pairs elements of the story: characters, plot, and setting. Smotherman then used THERE’S A WOLF AT THE DOOR: FIVE CLASSIC TALES, an oversized graphic novel about the big bad wolf, to teach the students the basic elements of comic creation. For instance, she taught them about panels, dialogue and thought bubbles, and the order one reads comic panels. The second graders were asked to take their favorite scene from THE MAGIC TREE HOUSE #1: DINOSAURS BEFORE DARK and then create a new ending for the story. They were to do this in comic format. That’s it. She turned them loose. Ten minutes turned into nearly an hour of solid work by the students of varying achievement levels. Pointing to one student Smotherman whispered to me, “I’ve never seen [this student] work so hard,” The interesting thing is that the child made an almost identical statement to her about five minutes earlier. In an attempt to reconnect the assignment back to other parts of the day, I sprawled out on the carpet at the front of the room and chose two students who needed special attention in reading. During reading time, the students and I read the dinosaur graphic novel, BLAST TO THE PAST, aimed at grades 1-3. Each student chose a character or two to read aloud dramatically, and I read the remaining parts. Periodically, I stopped and asked questions about the characters, setting, plot, and asked the students to make predictions about the outcome of the story. We made it past three pages and then I looked up to find myself surrounded by three other students. They weren’t reading aloud; they were just following along. This continued for the duration of my rotation, each day surrounded by two or three readers and three to five observers. Reading, you see, was engaging, interesting and educational. It was a simple, impromptu act by Smotherman that sparked an entire week of reading instruction and engagement. All it took was an interest in comics on the part of a teacher to create a new-found interest in reading for a group of children." - The Graphic Classroom Blog

June 4, 2009

The Graphic Classroom Blog - Larry Litle

"STORY SYNOPSIS -- David and Ben flunked their history test because they did not study. When Ben’s older brother, Darrin, created a time machine, David and Ben try to go back in time to study and retake the test. Things go wrong and the boys end up back with the dinosaurs. They start to have fun with the plant-eating dinosaurs until the carnivorous T. Rex shows up. David and Ben must to get back to the future before T. Rex gets them. STORY REVIEW -- This is a fun story about time traveling and dinosaurs. When I was a young boy, I loved any dinosaur book I could get my hands on and I would have loved this BLAST TO THE PAST. This book also hits on personal accountability and choices at a kid’s level.My daughter loved the dinosaurs in this book, proving to me that dinosaurs transcend the gender gap. ART REVIEW -- The art by Stever Harpster is perfect for young children in its clear comic book style. IN THE CLASSROOM -- This is a great story for the elementary classroom. It helps kids think about needing to make the right choices and being responsible for one’s bad choice such as playing video games instead of studying. I think the boys will love it. This story has a Reader’s Theater along with a teacher’s version, allowing it to be read allowed in class and discussed afterwards. There are questions, writing prompts and Internet sites for further study at the end of the book. MY RECOMMENDATION -- I would highly recommend this book for second to fourth graders." - The Graphic Classroom Blog

February 22, 2009

Scott Nickel

Scott Nickel

Born in 1962 in Denver, Colorado, Scott Nickel works by day at Paws, inc., Jim Davis's famous Garfield studio, and he freelances by night. Burning the midnight oil, Scott has created hundreds of humorous greeting cards and written several children's books, short fiction for "Boys' Life" magazine, comic strips, and lots of really funny knock-knock jokes. He was raised in southern California, but in 1995 Scott moved to Indiana, where he currently lives with his wife, two sons, six cats, and several sea monkeys.

Go to the Author’s Page →