The Time Tider

The Time Tider

By Author / Illustrator

Sinéad O'Hart


Science Fiction

Age range(s)



Little Tiger Press Group




Paperback / softback




Mara and her dad have lived in their van for as long as she can remember. Whatever her father does to scrape a living has kept them constantly moving and Mara has never questioned it. That is until she uncovers a collection of notes addressed to 'the Tider', an individual responsible for harvesting lost time from people whose lives were cut short.  But before Mara can question her father, he is taken by a dangerous group who want to use his power for evil. With the very fabric of time and space at stake, it's down to Mara and her new friend Jan to find him before it's too late...   A fast-paced, time bending adventure, perfect for fans of A WRINKLE IN TIME, THE SECRET KEEPERS and SKY SONG.

Find out more from author Sinéad O'Hart



In The Time Tider, Mara and her father, Gabriel, live in their van and are constantly on the move. Her father is forever tinkering with watches, completely absorbed in his work, plotting the next stop on their never-ending journey. Mara has never questioned their way of life until one day she discovers some papers hidden in the van referring to the to 'the Tider', someone responsible for harvesting 'lost time'. Shocked and full of questions, Mara is left reeling when Gabriel is taken by a dangerous group who wish to use his powers for evil. Desperate for help, Mara tries to find her father's friend, Lenny, and meets a boy called Jan who seems determined to help her. Together, they must find Gabriel before it's too late.

My clumsy synopsis does not do justice to this brilliant book. It is such a well-crafted, absorbing story, set in a world where 'spare' time must be harvested by the Time Tider to avoid it gathering and causing warps; however, it also poses questions in the moral implications of someone having the power and responsibility this bestows and the potential for corruption and evil which might follow.

The author skilfully builds Mara's world and the arts of the Time Tider with exerts from 'The Time Tider's Handbook' being threaded through the story between chapters. Mara is a unique character. Isolated by their unusual lifestyle, their poverty and constant travelling, she is naturally distrustful and cautious, but also curious and courageous. You can't help but cheer her on as she faces each challenge and decision she must take.

The Time Tider would make an excellent class read, sure to excite the imagination and lead to much discussion and exploration of ideas. I have loved each book by Sinead O'Hart, but feel this is her best yet!

256 pages, Reviewed by Sue, teacher

Suggested Reading Age 9+


Such a brilliant idea for a story…a Time Tider - whose job is to collect unused time!!! Absolutely brilliant! 12-year-old Mara has many missing elements in her life; what happened to her mother?; why does she live in a van with her dad?; why are they always on the move? Arriving in different towns, getting food, keeping away from other adults who are concerned when they see a child alone are just a few obstacles Mara has to regularly overcome. Disappearing into 'soft spaces' (greyish-silver wrinkles in the air) are a way in which she hides in situations such as these. When she discovers her dad at a 'meeting' in a field with another man, things start becoming clearer for Mara. With her friend Jan, it seems that it is up to Mara to find a way to get to her kidnapped father.

The Time Tider is full of suspense, action and danger. I loved how Mara's character develops as she discovers things about her family which she never knew, and how it makes you think….what if catching unused time was an actual reality?

356 pages / Reviewed by Donna, teacher

Suggested Reading Age 9+


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