The Time Traveller and the Tiger

The Time Traveller and the Tiger

By Author / Illustrator

Tania Unsworth



Age range(s)



Head of Zeus




Paperback / softback




Face to face with the mightiest and most majestic predator in the jungle, Elsie is in awe of the tiger's beauty. She's on a mission to have the adventure of a lifetime, save the tiger and change the future.

With echoes of Tom's Midnight Garden, Tania Unsworth writes about transcendent friendships and conservation in the animal kingdom.

Elsie is not looking forward to the long summer holiday with her creaky, old Uncle John. But then the unimaginable happens as Time unravels and Elsie tumbles back to 1940s India to meet her Uncle John as a young boy on a tiger hunt. Can Elsie stop him from doing what he's already told her is a wrong he can never right?

The Time Traveller and the Tiger is a multi-layered novel for 9-12 year-olds, rich in adventure, mystery, historical and conservation themes.



Imagine starting into a flower that only flowers once in its lifetime one moment and stumbling back in time before you were even born the next. Well for Elsie that is exactly what happens while she is visiting her Uncle John, who she has never met, to while away the long summer holidays.

In The Time Traveller and the Tiger, Elsie finds herself on a great adventure, not the one she imagined as she comes face to face with majestic tigers and is on a mission to change past events, setting the future on a different path altogether.

This is also a poignant, educational story about finding out more about yourself and family whilst exploring difficult concepts revolving around human-animal relationships.

Join Elsie as she travels back in time, to 1940s India, where her uncle is hunting a tiger in a jungle which conceals secrets and hidden depths. This is an adventure story seeped in history, conservation and mystery links.

256 pages / Ages 9-12 years / Reviewed by Kelly Buxton, teacher

Suggested Reading Age 9+


Elsie has to stay with her Great Uncle John, who lived in India when he was younger. He talks about the terrible thing he regrets doing when he was still a child. Elsie is catapulted back through time to India in the 1940s; can she put that mistake right? Or is it wrong to try and change time? Elsie meets the younger John and his friend Mandeep as they wander through the forest. Soon enough they will come face to face with the tiger and what will be the impact of Elsie's presence on 1946?

The Time Traveller and the Tiger is a mixture of classic adventure and a conservation story. The time travelling bit is cleverly handled so that this is a historical adventure rather than a fantasy story. The plot also touches upon India in the 1940s and the treatment of the Indians themselves. At the centre of it all is the tiger, with passages told from the tiger's point of view as well as the children's story. The villain is marvellously villainous, not just because he is hunting tigers but because his nature and physical presence is very well drawn.

Elsie herself is a wonderful mix of child, living in her own fantasy as Kelsie Corvette, whilst at the same time being a bit of heroine in her own right. Her modern view and the knowledge that the tigers will be driven to extinction by all the hunting, is an essential element of the book. The adventure in the tropical forest is exciting and tinged with the fear that she might never return to the present day.

This book would be good for discussion about hunting and how it is no longer seen as something it is all right to do, not just for big game but also foxes and smaller game in this country. It made me wonder if any of those people who really did shoot an animal such as a tiger, ever felt regret at ending the life of such a magnificent creature.

256 pages / Reviewed by Jacqueline Harris, teacher

Suggested Reading Age 9+


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