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I'm trying to find a book I recall from my childhood, but details are sparse.

For an upper bound on release, I would have read this ~1990-1995.

The only detail that really stands out is that towards the end, there are a couple children (and possibly the older man / scientist type) in the basement of the house with the time machine, and they're attempting to return to the present, with the restriction that they can't target a specific date, and have to count the (blinks, ticks, seconds, whatever).

It takes all night, and the characters risk falling asleep and overshooting the target.

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    Take a look at this page and see if you can remember anything else. No detail is insignificant! Apr 4, 2017 at 20:52
  • If I had to guess, I was probably around 10-14, and the book seemed age appropriate. It wouldn't have been a terribly long book - likely something out of one of those Scholastic catalogs.
    – Jeff
    Apr 6, 2017 at 2:31
  • I also recall Choose Your Own Adventure (of which Cave of Time seems like a candidate, but I can't find any summary of the possible endings) and I can recall reading "Time Machine", which was a different Choose Your Own Adventure type book.
    – Jeff
    Apr 6, 2017 at 3:03

1 Answer 1

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I think this is Danny Dunn, Time Traveler by Jay Williams and Raymond Abrashkin. From pp. 121–123 of the copy at the Internet Archive,

"Very well. I'll start the chronocycle. Dan, you and Irene will count the peaks in the line as they appear. You'd better take it in turn or you'll wear out—count a thousand each. When you get to 73,049, I'll go a sixteenth of an inch further so we'll land at noon ....

Irene's eyes watered, and she had to blink. Had she missed one? She bit her lip and went on counting, grimly putting all thought out of her mind.

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    Please could you add some details about this book (e.g. some quotes or a synopsis) so that it's more verifiably clear whether or not it's the right answer? Ideally, identification Q&A should be useful to more than just the OP, so even if this jogs Jeff's memory, it's nice if this page also helps other people looking for the same story.
    – Rand al'Thor
    Dec 9, 2022 at 5:59
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    Yes! Here's the Wikipedia page: en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Danny_Dunn,_Time_Traveler. The cover definitely rings a bell, and the "Mad scientist" I was remembering was Benjamin Franklin.
    – Jeff
    Dec 10, 2022 at 13:29
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    @Rand al'Thor Ironically I don't think I'd read the book before; the setup and plot twist just reminded me very strongly of other Danny Dunn books I had read. I verified its existence with Wikipedia page and then the text at the Internet Archive. Dec 12, 2022 at 4:16

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