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*Molly Moon's Hypnotic Time Travel Adventure* by Georgia Byng- young readers book review

Molly Moon's Hypnotic Time Travel Adventure
by Georgia Byng
Ages 9-12 400 pages HarperTrophy December 2006 Paperback    

In this third book in a series by author Georgia Byng, eleven-year-old Molly Moon once again puts her hypnotic skills to good use, has adventures in India where she tries to thwart the plans of an evil giant Maharajah named Waqt, and learns to travel through time by using red and green crystals. Though this installment is a part of a series - and I recommend that you read the first two books in the series, because they are very good and provide some background information - it can stand alone and be thoroughly enjoyed on its own merits.

Raised in an orphanage, Molly has been reunited with her parents, Primo Cell and Lucy Logan, who were under hypnosis for the eleven years of Molly’s life by Cornelius Logan, Lucy’s twin brother. Cornelius wanted to gain power by scheming to make Primo the president of the United States. Cornelius’s plans were foiled by Molly, who proved to be the better hypnotist when she hypnotized him into believing he was a lamb. Primo tells Molly: “It’s amazing how that lamb man out there was once so powerful. I can still hardly believe that he once hypnotized me to want to be the president of America for him. And I would have been, too, if you, Molly, hadn’t saved me.” Still not quite used to the idea that she has parents and that they’re both alive, she still calls them by their first names.

The action picks up when Petula, Molly’s pet pug, is kidnapped by a purple-turbaned man. She decides to try to rescue her dog but instead falls “into a hypnotic trap” and finds herself also kidnapped by the same man, who somewhat ineptly uses time travel to transport her to a different time and place: India in the 1870s. Temporarily separated from her friend from the orphanage, Rocky, and her adult friend, the hippy Forest, she learns that the purple-turbaned man, Zackya, is acting on the behalf of his master, a giant man who calls himself the Maharajah of Waqt; waqt is the Hindu word for “time.”

The Maharajah of Waqt was the person who hypnotized Cornelius to try to make Molly’s father president. He ultimately wanted Cornelius to hypnotize all of the world’s leaders to gather enough power and money to mine for time-travel crystals so he could eventually travel to the beginning of time a get access to a Bubble of Light. Time traveling has the drawback of aging your appearance, making your skin scaly and reptilian; Waqt believes that the Bubble of Light has the power to make his skin look normal again. The evil giant with a speech impediment presents Molly with a challenge at which she must succeed, or he will kill her dog:
“Here is your challenge to save your dog from becoming curried pug. This morning before my bath a ceapock got into this yourtcard and was removed. I want you to go back in time and fetch that ceapock for me.”
The Maharajah believes Molly will fail. He is angry with his servant, Zackya, for bringing him a Molly Moon from the wrong time - after she had learned hypnotism and had foiled his plans by hypnotizing Cornelius. Still, he thinks that messing with Molly, playing a sort of cruel game with her, might be fun. Waqt gives Molly very brief instructions on how to use the time crystals, though it took him years to fully master how to travel through time. The green crystal will take a person back into time, and the red one, into the future:
“Concentrate on the green or red crystal, depending on which way you trish to wavel. Then put your mind into a semi-trance--as you do when you stop the world. Stare into the space of now, and summon the cool fusion feeling of world stopping.”
When, to his surprise, Molly succeeds, he hatches the idea to kidnap various Mollies at different ages—as an infant and at six and ten years old. He wants to test them to find which one might be the best to raise up and shape as his own; he will then kill the other Mollies. He also kidnaps her dog when he is a puppy. To defeat the Maharajah of Waqt, Molly fears that she might have to do to him what he wants to do to her--kill him.

Will Molly reunite with Rocky, Forest, and her parents? If she does, what will be the price? Molly Moon’s Hypnotic Time Travel Adventure is full of adventure, suspense, and fun. As a bonus, kids will learn more about India as they read it and gain a greater understanding of life in that country. Byng outdoes herself with every book in her “Molly Moon” series, and this one is no exception. Though the title character is a girl, it is similar to the “Pippie Longstocking” series and the books about Alice In Wonderland in that boys will also find the books entertaining and fun enough to want to read. Highly recommended to kids of all ages.

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