Annie Nobody has lived with dozens of foster families. Even the kind ones do not seem to want to keep her because she is, well, strange. She attracts animals, such as large numbers of rabbits or dogs. She does not seek them out – they find her.

Her latest “family” is perhaps the worst. Mrs. Wiegle and her son Walden are, in a word, cruel. They only want her for the income a foster child provides. When they lock her out in the snow, she has an opportunity to make a run for it.

Annie is not the only neglected child in town. Along the way, she meets Jamie, another runaway who has recently discovered that the people he believed to be father and grandmother are actually trolls. The pair are rescued by Eva, a young dwarf, and taken to the magical town of Aurora. There they meet a host of magical beings. Aurora, however, is in danger, and although Annie is not sure she is up the task, she may be the only person who can save it.

Time Stoppers appears to be the first in the kind of fantasy series that is quite popular today. The writing is basic with no plot surprises. Annie and Jamie are likeable protagonists who are largely helped by the usual magical tricks. Young readers not quite ready for Harry Potter will enjoy this story, but beware of some coarse language and reference to a “man-crush”.

Jennifer Minicus

Jennifer Minicus lives in New Jersey with her husband and son. A former French, Latin and mathematics teacher, Jennifer currently enjoys the responsibilities of a "domestic engineer", particularly making...