Big Papa and the Time Machine
Big Papa and the Time Machine

Big Papa and the Time Machine

Written by Daniel Bernstrom & illustrated by Shane W. Evans
Physical book
4 - 8
Reading age
Page count
Words per page
Lexile measure
Jan 14, 2020
Publication date

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A loving grandfather shares from his personal history to help his grandson in this masterful work about fear, bravery, and family.

When a young boy is scared to start school, he receives a much needed visit from his Big Papa, who takes him on an inspiring and instructive journey in his “time machine”: a pristine 1950s era antique car complete with whitewall tires. The boy and Big Papa travel to five important moments in Big Papa’s life—including the night he met his wife and the day the little boy’s mom left him as a baby with Big Papa—when Big Papa himself was scared. Big Papa beautifully describes how he responded to these moments with bravery: “[S]ometimes you gotta jump in an ocean of scared if you ever gonna dance with an angel,” and “Sometimes you gotta love the unexpected if you ever gonna find love at all.” Bernstrom masterfully weaves oral histories into an answer to a present day problem, and his skillful touch of Ebonics conveys character while making the story easy to read aloud. Evans, whose impressionistic illustrations are done in mixed and digital media, alkyd paint, and pen, beautifully depicts past and present simultaneously, with a pastel color scheme that seamlessly differentiates between the ethereal past and the concrete present. Both Bernstrom and Evans describe in touching endnotes their personal connection with the story, a connection that readers will notice in this inspiring, remarkable book.

What Kind of Book is Big Papa and the Time Machine



Race, Ethnicities, & Nationalities

Where Does This Book Stand Out

  • Heartstrings

    The “Heartstrings” badge is awarded to books that provoke an exceptionally tender emotional response.

  • Heritage

    The “Heritage” badge is awarded to exceptional books celebrating personal heritage and family history.

What Questions Should I Ask My Child

  • Big Papa shares a number of times when he had to be brave even though he felt scared. When is a time you chose to be brave when you felt scared?
  • The boy in the story was discouraged from studying. Today, many children have much better opportunities to study and gain an education. What is your favorite subject to study? What subject is hard?


Book Lists That Include This Book

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What Has Daniel Bernstrom Said About This Book

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What Has Shane W. Evans Said About This Book

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Book Details

Publication Date
January 14, 2020
Illustration Details
The artist used patience, skill, mixed media, pen, alkyd paint, and digital media tools to create this book.
Page Count
Words Per Page
Reading Age
4 - 8 years
Est. Lexile® Level
Est. Fountas & Pinnell Level
ATOS® Book Level
Accelerated Reader® Points
Accelerated Reader Quiz
Accelerated Reader Interest Level

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