Time Warp Trio

Time Warp TrioOverview of the series

Coming in at well under 100 pages, the Time Warp Trio books seem like they’re squarely aimed at the younger set. And they are great for newly independent readers who want some humor and attitude. However, they’re also great for reluctant readers or as a brain break for 9 to 12 year olds. They can be read in any order, so just grab whichever one comes to hand. More detailed discussions of Viking It and Liking It and Tut, Tut are included here.

Recommendation of the series in general

These books are amusing and a quick read. They’re good for ages 7 and up, probably well suited to middle grade reluctant readers because they don’t feel like they’re aimed at kindergartners.

Time Warp Trio series by Jon Scieszka
Published by Viking
My son borrowed them from his school library

Viking It and Liking It

Published in 2002

In Viking It and Liking It, the boys get warped to the moment Leif Eriksson discovers the New World. From there, it’s bad skald sagas, football metaphors, and the usual shenanigans as the boys use their wits to find The Book and return to their own time.

SPOILER ALERT: Things you might want to know before suggesting this to your kid


There’s some fighting, but it’s mostly flinging stuff around and no one getting hurt. It moves the plot but has no other consequences.


At the Viking feast, the boys are handed mead, which they sip and promptly spit out. However, when Leif’s evil cousin Grim drugs a drink to knock out Leif and his crew, the next scene has the boys waking up because they were forced to drink some of it, too. It’s certainly not portrayed as pleasant or a fun way to break the rules.


There isn’t a single female character in this book, now that I think of it. The Time Warp Trio are all boys, and every named Viking was male. An annoying little sister is mentioned in passing, but doesn’t actually show up.


Native Americans show up long enough to shoot arrows and other pointy things toward the Vikings—this is necessary because the plot needs to move onto the Viking boat. It’s hardly enough of a cameo to say it fills a stereotype, though.


While there are no actual swear words, the Viking skalds (poets) are named “Bullshik” and “Fulluvit”—I’ll bet most kids get the joke.


There are a few facts scattered throughout the book and there are some fun activities at the end (my son wrote messages in runes after reading this).

Tut, Tut

Published in 1996

In Tut, Tut, Joe’s little sister Anna joins them in a trek to ancient Egypt where they befriend a young Pharaoh, Thutmose III. There are meta-jokes in this book, such as pointing out that of course they can all understand each other because that’s how it works in time travel adventures.

SPOILER ALERT: Things you might want to know before suggesting this to your kid


The priest tries pretty actively to kill the kids, setting them up as thieves which could result in a death sentence and eventually trapping them inside the temple. They only escape because they find the book.


At a feast, one of the boys is excited to get wine and Joe reminds him to act like the important guests they are. It’s just a line in passing and nothing really happens about it.


The whole reason they end up in ancient Egypt is that Anna wants to prove that there were female Pharaohs. She’s correct, and Thutmose III’s aunt and co-Pharaoh is portrayed as a good ruler. Anna befriends the goddess Isis which saves them all in the end.


The goddess Isis seems to be real, although her intercession comes through a cat.


While there are no actual swear words, the priest’s name is Hatsnat which is apparently pronounced “Hotsnot.” This makes the boys giggle like the middle school kids they are.


There are a few facts scattered throughout the book and there’s an amusing quiz at the end.

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