Book review: 'Texting through Time: John Taylor and the Mystery Puzzle' will delight young readers

By Shelby Scoffield

For the Deseret News

Published: Saturday, Dec. 15 2012 5:00 a.m. MST

"TEXTING THROUGH TIME: John Taylor and the Mystery Puzzle," by Christy Monson, Bonneville Books, $12.99, 176 pages (f) (ages 8 and up)

A new book by Christy Monson is a wonderful piece of fiction for young children. “Texting through Time: John Taylor and the Mystery Puzzle” is also a useful tool for parents who want to teach their youngsters about the history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the sacrifices of the early Mormon pioneers.

Alicia and Micah are young children with a fascination for church history. Their father recently developed a cell phone that allows people to travel through time. The children have already used this tool to visit Brigham Young in the first book it the series, and they tell their father they would like to use the phone this time to visit the prophet and third president of the LDS Church, President John Taylor.

Their father is skeptical at first because he has learned of a few glitches the phone has. He tells his kids he will go with them. But when the phone is activated, it only takes Alicia and Micah to England, the place where John Taylor was born.

Alicia and Micah meet John Taylor as a child. After playing war games with him and his friends, Alicia and Micah decide they should go home and see their father. The phone will not transport the children back home, however, until they finish a puzzle.

The puzzle makes the children travel throughout the entirety of President Taylor’s life. They go with him to Canada where he was a Methodist preacher. They also go to Nauvoo, Ill., after he was shot in Carthage Jail.

The most poignant part of the book comes when President Taylor describes the death of the Prophet Joseph Smith to Micah and Alicia. Children reading the book will not only understand the gravity of the situation, but they will appreciate Joseph Smith and his sacrifices on a much higher level.

The combination of time travel, cell phones and church history makes this book appealing to young children.

Monson does an excellent job intertwining scriptures into the book as well. The scriptures are placed in such a context that children will be able to understand them easily.

Monson is also the author of “Texting Through Time: A Trek with Brigham Young.” Her works have been published in multiple church magazines, as well.

Shelby Scoffield has a bachelor's in English from Brigham Young University and a master's in rhetoric and composition from Stanislaus State University. She is currently working on her teaching credentials so she can teach high school English.

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