No Ordinary Thing
Time traveling is no ordinary thing, but that’s what awaits 12-year-old Adam when he finds a snow globe that allows him to journey into the past. The snow globe whisks Adam from his home and introduces him to a succession of unusual characters along the way. Strangely, each individual seems to have a past that is interwoven with Adam’s own.
100 years ago in the streets of New York City, the famous magician and candlemaker extraordinaire Elbert the Excellent hopes to dazzle the world with his magic, but instead stumbles upon a mysterious entity known as “the time touch.”
As the two storylines unravel, they reveal a single thread that ties Adam and Elbert’s pasts together. At the center of their histories lies an abandoned candle factory, a factory that claimed multiple lives in a tragic fire years ago… one that Adam might be able to prevent.
Excerpt - Read a Sample
About two hours before midnight on the busy street, a man in a raincoat appeared out of nowhere. His sudden presence should have been odd, but no one took notice of him. That particular part of New York bustled with cars and people at all hours of the night, so much so that nobody really saw each other in the crowds. Everyone else had other business to attend to, and a stranger lingering in the shadows—even one that had quite literally materialized from thin air—did not capture their interest that October evening.
The man in the raincoat walked several blocks down the street. There the path broke off to reveal a quiet cobblestone street leading into a quieter patch of neighborhood. The man stood at its edge and silently observed the area with a smile.
If any of the people passing by had taken a glance, they might’ve found it slightly odd the man wore a dripping wet raincoat when it hadn’t rained anywhere nearby that day.
They might’ve found it odder still that he carried what looked like a snow globe in his hands, with the care of someone cradling a cherished pet.
But New York City was full of oddballs, so no one bothered with him.
Which is unfortunate, because had these passersby stopped to ask who he was and what he was doing there, they would’ve found the answer the oddest of all.
Because our friend in the raincoat wasn’t supposed to exist yet.
– – –
The same cobblestone street had a tiny bakery in the corner called the Biscuit Basket.
Ask anyone in the neighborhood, and they will answer the Biscuit Basket was a “perfectly adequate bakery, now please get out of my way”—which was a sore understatement, because the bakery’s goods were far above average.
In the early mornings, when the sun had barely tinted the glassy skyscrapers along the East River, the aroma of freshly baked breads and chocolate croissants wafted from the tiny brick building and filled every inch of the street.
Despite its enticing smells and first-rate offerings, however, the bakery had only a scarcely-adequate share of customers. On good days, mornings saw one or two adults who stopped by for a quick sugar doughnut before work. In the afternoons came the neighborhood kids fresh from school, their pockets jingling with allowance money as they gathered around the colorful array of cupcakes along the counter. And of course there were the occasional weary ladies in large, fancy hats who needed two orders of peach cobbler, immediately if you please, for their evening book club every third Tuesday of the month.
But on bad days, the Biscuit Basket had hardly any visitors at all. On those days, the baker—a stocky and balding man named Henry—could be seen waiting behind the counter anxiously, or else rearranging the cakes at the display window for the thousandth time, or else trying to attract customers by offering free samples of strawberry-and-almond tarts to passersby.
It wasn’t Henry’s fault. No matter how hard he pounded the dough, no matter how fast he mixed the cream and sugar, the Biscuit Basket just didn’t entice quite enough customers to its corner of the street. Not when an enormous candy shop, a coffee shop, and two other bakeries sat just two streets over. So on those lonely days, Henry would look wistfully at the untouched pastries that had grown stale, and hope he had enough money to pay the rent.
It was such a day on that Saturday evening when our story begins. A few hours before the mysterious man in the raincoat appeared, the streets were cold and dreary, and darkening with October gloom. Not a single customer had stopped by the bakery, where Henry sat behind the counter for the better part of the day.
★ Praise ★
“Resolving mysteries and featuring glimpses into its hero’s future, No Ordinary Thing is no ordinary time travel story; it contains timeless lessons on friendship, bravery, and letting go.” – Foreword Reviews
“Schmidt’s complex, tightly constructed middle grade debut explores time travel and fantasies about altering the past for the better… Told in a confident narrative voice, the novel adroitly traces the characters’ and objects’ journeys and connections, encouraging close reading and keen speculation as the suspense builds to a most satisfying conclusion.” – Publishers Weekly
“Schmidt provides hints and sentiments that provide a warm, comforting backdrop, as do her narrative metaphors and sensory details of the bakery… Elegant writing and an imaginative conceit.” – School Library Journal
“Will leave readers thoughtfully making connections and drawing conclusions.” – Booklist