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Tilly and the Time Machine

Ade Edmondson, illustrated by Danny Noble
Age 6-8

Tilly lives alone with her dad, an inventor whose latest creation is a time machine.  When Tilly’s dad disappears and gets stuck in the past Tilly finds herself in a race back through time to find him, travelling to the Battle of Trafalgar, the 1966 world cup final and even meeting Queen Victoria. There is only one place and time Tilly really wants to go to though and that’s back to her sixth birthday when mum was still alive.

This is an amusing and poignant adventure through time with insights into life for the rich and poor in Victorian England and also into ways of coping with grief.



Watch an introduction to the story

Watch Adrian Edmondsen in a Question and Answer session about the book

See video where illustrator Danny Noble demonstrates how to draw Tilly and introduces the story


Talk about the story

  • Which scene in the story did you find funniest? Share your favourites looking back through the book to remind yourselves.

  • How would you describe Tilly? Talk together about words which might describe her and why you chose them, thinking about her personality as well as her appearance.

  • Talk about different kinds of homes. Tilly lives in a terraced house. What kind of home do you live in? How old do you think Tilly’s house was? Look at the drawing of terraced houses together to remind you. Why do you think Jack’s house seemed so familiar to Tilly?

  • Where/when would you like to go if you could travel through time? Is there a historical character you would like to meet? Look together at the prompts at the back of the book and share ideas.

     "It was really fun and it actually teaches you about history whilst being fun.

    My favourite bit was when Queen Victoria's servants were laughing when they didn't even know why.

    It's also really nice that your imagination goes on an adventure."


Things to make and do

Design a time machine
Draw your own design for a time machine. You could look back at the drawing of Tilly’s dad’s machine for ideas. Label the parts of your machine with their function.

Play the story
Role play an imaginary conversation between Tilly and one of the characters in the story eg Queen Victoria or Mr Wormwood, the chimney sweep.

Draw a picture
Draw a picture of

  1. child chimney sweeps in charcoal if you have some or pencil. Don’t forget to make their faces dirty!  OR

  2. Tilly dressed as a rich Victorian child using colouring pencils.

Write a menu for a special tea
What would you choose for tea with Queen Victoria or Queen Elizabeth 11, or for your own birthday party? Write a menu.

Make a trivia game
Try the trivia quiz at the back of the book first then have a go at making your own game.
Start by writing down some facts you know then try to find a few more try them out on your friends or family.
You could write each question on a small piece of card with the answer on the back.

See our print-off activity book with some of these ideas and other activities


Find out more

Find out more about Queen Victoria 

Scroll through this webpage together to find out more about Victorian child chimney sweeps 

Find out more about Admiral Nelson and the Battle of Trafalgar 

Read another story by author Ade Edmondson Junkyard Jack and The Horse that Talked