Valentine, James 1961-
VALENTINE, James 1961-
PERSONAL: Born 1961; married; wife's name Joanne (a psychologist); children: Ruby, Roy. Education: Attended Melbourne State College.
CAREER: Broadcast personality, producer, writer, and musician. Currently daily talk-show host for Australia Broadcasting Corporation radio, Sydney, New South Wales. Showtime Movie News, reporter; Humour Australia (satirical radio sketches), writer and performer. Has also worked as a television presenter and producer for Good Morning Australia, The Afternoon Show, and TVTV. Musician, performing saxophone and woodwinds with The Models, Absent Friends, Jo Camilleri, and Wendy Matthews.
JumpMan Rule #1: Don't Touch Anything (juvenile novel), Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (New York, NY), 2005.
JumpMan Rule #2: Don't Even Think about It! (juvenile novel), Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (New York, NY), 2005.
JumpMan Rule #3: See Rule One (juvenile novel), Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (New York, NY), 2006.
Contributor to periodicals, including Rolling Stone, Vogue, and Cleo.
WORK IN PROGRESS: A novel for young adults.
SIDELIGHTS: James Valentine has contributed to a number of television and radio programs produced for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, serving as a writer, producer, and host. A saxophonist, he is a former member of the musical group the Models, and has contributed to publications that include Rolling Stone. Since becoming a father, Valentine also began writing for young readers, beginning with his debut, JumpMan Rule #1: Don't Touch Anything, Beth Wright wrote in School Library Journal that if one can picture Douglas Adams's The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy written for middle-grade readers, "you'll have a good idea of the pace, style, and overall inspired silliness of this Australian import."
The title of the "JumpMan" books refers to a time-travel device, the TimeMaster JumpMan Pro, which has transported teenager Theodore Pine Four back into the early twenty-first century from 3,000 years in the future. Jules Santorini, who moved away from home for two years and has returned to find his friend Genevieve matured and popular, is trying to get up the nerve to ask her out on a date. He is understandably somewhat put off by the fact that this slightly older time traveler has popped into their life. Theo is taken aback as well, for the device he won in a contest was supposed to allow him to travel without being seen. Jules and Gen take on the task of protecting Theo, who has vibrant multi-colored hair and a talking coat that warns him about the poor nutritional value of the foods he is about to eat, displays its own commercials for futuristic products, and morphs into a variety of clothing items. The two teens travel with Theo back and forth in time, viewing the dinosaurs, man's accomplishment of building the first fire, and the construction of the pyramids, as they try to figure out how to return him to the future.
The hardest part is getting Theo to obey the first rule of TimeJumping—"Don't Touch Anything." While another rule is that nothing from the future can be revealed, Theo is not able to suppress the fact that Microsoft PC mogul Bill Gates is actually a juvenile delinquent from Theo's own era. Jules and Gen are also challenged in trying to help Theo without alerting their parents, whose suspicions are of another sort.
A Kliatt reviewer also compared JumpMan Rule #1 to the writing of Adams, saying that his fans "will enjoy the wacky sense of humor and the varied adventures in this suspenseful tale." Francisca Goldsmith wrote in Booklist that "moral and ethical issues are nicely incorporated into a plot filled with high adventure and engaging characters." A Publishers Weekly contributor felt that "the author nimbly balances the science-fiction story with the smaller, but just as compelling tale of Jules and his quest for confidence, making this a great read, not just for sci-fi buffs."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, July, 2004, Francisca Goldsmith, review of JumpMan Rule #1: Don't Touch Anything, p. 1845.
Children's Bookwatch, September, 2004, review of JumpMan Rule #1, p. 4.
Kirkus Reviews, June 1, 2004, review of JumpMan Rule #1, p. 542.
Kliatt, July, 2004, Paula Rohrlick, review of JumpMan Rule #1, p. 13.
Publishers Weekly, April 5, 2004, review of JumpMan Rule #1, p. 62.
School Library Journal, July, 2004, Beth Wright, review of JumpMan Rule #1, p. 113.
Australian Broadcasting Corporation Web site, http://www.abc.net.au/sydney/jamesvalentine/ (April 14, 2005), "James Valentine."
James Valentine Home Page, http://www.jamesvalentine.net (June 29, 2005).