In 1999 Andrew Norriss, the creator of the Original TV series, wrote a novelization based on some episodes in the first three series. Among the differences from the TV show it is implied that it is set in the Hampshire area and Bernard and Karen both have single parents with Bernard's mother having died when he was three and Karen' parents were divorced before she was born.
The book is written in Oxford spelling which is the system used in the Oxford English Dictionary. It differs from the spelling most Britons are used to e.g. the letter Z is generally used after I in the 'ize' suffix e.g. realize instead of realise.
On what started as a normal school day in February Bernard Beasley realizes he forgot his football kit, after being reminded by his classmate Karen Hewitt, and goes home to get it. Bernard gets his kit but then gets his trousers trapped in the front door and is unable to release them. He pays a visit his great aunt Beatrice Anne Temperley, who he calls 'Aunt Bee', who lets him borrow a pocket watch which can stop time freezing everyone and everything except the user. He uses it to get back to school and get changed in frozen time with his teacher Miss Picot barely noticing he had gone. In PE he uses the watch to win the match with him in goal and his teacher is impressed with his goal keeping abilities.
Aunt Bee continues letting Bernard borrow the watch, which he uses to check the answers to maths and geography questions in school, and she gives him strange tasting lemonade. After hearing about him from the teachers Mr Tree the head teacher calls Bernard into his office and asks him some maths questions. In frozen time Bernard uses pieces of paper to work out the answers.
Karen tells her mother about Bernard's progress and Mrs Hewitt, who has never known Bernard to be gifted, thinks he might get along with Karen, who only started at his school that term and finds it hard to make friends, and invites him to come along on a day trip to the Naval Heritage Museum in Portsmouth. Bernard is enthusiastic about the idea given that he had not been on any trips for while with his father busy with his job and Aunt Bee unable to walk without a stick. On the way there Bernard feels hungry and stops time so he can go into a petrol station for a sandwich. While there he accidentally restarts time and Mrs Hewitt drives off without him. He freezes time again so he can borrow a bike to catch up with Mrs Hewitt's car and leaves the bike on the verge with a note.
On their arrival back home Mrs Hewitt finds Bernard unconscious from anaemia and he has to be taken to hospital. When Aunt Bee visits him she gives him a chain for the watch and tells him that the watch uses the iron molecules in his body and he should take a tablespoon of iron tonic, which she previously added to his lemonade, every day. She tells him that her late husband Phillip, from whom she inherited the watch, fainted three times before he realized what was going on.
Mrs Hewitt takes Bernard on more day trips with Karen who tells him about her pet rat Boris who went missing some time ago and she still has the cage. Bernard decides to catch a wild rat, from the school grounds, and put it in the cage for her birthday. Upon seeing the rat Karen tells Bernard that they cannot keep a wild rat as they spread Weil's disease. Karen explains that she is not upset about the rat but about getting the wrong clothes from the dry cleaner's and there was no time to get the right ones which she needs for the trip with the school orchestra, in which she plays cello, to Southampton. Bernard lets her use the watch to get the right clothes and buy earrings with her birthday money just as the school minibus arrives. He takes the rat to the police station fearing that it would be poisoned if he takes it back to the school.
One day Bernard uses the watch to save the lives of Karen and Mrs Hewitt after Karen gets her dress caught in Mr Beasley's car door and her mother tries to stop him. Upon hearing their screams Bernard stops time and gets them out of the way removing the keys from the ignition and setting the handbrake.
Ten days later Aunt Bee is taken ill and goes to hospital. She is too ill to speak but Bernard leaves her notes about what he did with the watch. When he goes to her house to check the moth trap and record the findings Mrs Donaldson the housekeeper tells them a pocket watch is missing and asks is she can see the one Bernard has to check that was it. Bernard realizes afterwards that the watch Mrs Donaldson gives back is a copy Aunt Bee kept to make others think she still had it. All the housekeeper had to do was press the button and give him the copy in frozen time thinking she must have found out from overhearing his conversations or reading the notes. Bernard and Karen decide to keep away from her.
In the news is a crime wave involving strange robberies from banks, jewelers, designer clothes shops, Oddbins and artworks at the Guildhall. Bernard and Karen go to Aunt Bee's house, to see to the moth trap, where they meet Mrs Donaldson who has the stolen goods. There she threatens Bernard by putting him, in frozen time, in the way of a bus and a train and nearly pushes him into a river as examples of what she can do to him if he tells anyone about the robberies and to show Aunt Bee the copy of the watch if she asks about it. He finds Karen gagged and bound on the doorstep as he leaves and they decide to continue to avoid her.
Later on Mrs Donaldson calls at the Beasley's house to ask Bernard for the key. Bernard does not know what she is talking about and she threatens him physically demanding the key to watch. Mrs Hewitt, who is helping Mr Beasley with his paperwork, catches her in the act and the two parents restrain her. Outside the house Mrs Donaldson faints from the same anaemia which affected Bernard and they call an ambulance. Bernard takes back the watch but finds that it is no longer working and goes to see Aunt Bee.
Police sergeant Palmer, who has been investigating the borrowed bike, the bullies who beat up Karen then found themselves hanging from railings after Bernard intervened, the rat and Mrs Donaldson's crimes, gets the police to give Mr Beasley a lift to the hospital after he receives bad news over the telephone and it is unwise to drive when upset.
In the hospital waiting room Bernard meets Aunt Bee, who is in good health and no longer using the walking stick, and tells him that the watch is for learning and that she gave him the key before going off with a man. Mr Beasley catches up with Bernard and tells him that Aunt Bee has died. The staff nurse explained that it was not uncommon to have experiences like the vision Bernard had of his great aunt.
Palmer, who has been promoted to inspector, learns about the watch and tells Bernard to contact him if he loses his bike, needs help with bullies or an animal that needs looking after.
Bernard and Karen try to work out what Aunt Bee meant by saying she had given Bernard the key. At school they find the key on the watch chain and use it to magically wind the watch which starts working again. The story ends with the two children enjoying a chocolate cake from the school kitchen.
- Bernard and Karen are stated as being in year 7 which under the two-tier system used in Hampshire, as well as most of Nottinghamshire where the TV series is set, is the first year of secondary school. However Mr Tree is stated as being the head of the local junior school (taking pupils in years 3 to 6 and found in some parts of Nottinghamshire) and Bernard is asked for autographs from younger pupils. In the TV series Bernard and Karen are in primary school and in the fifth series of the original it is implied that Bernard is now in secondary school.
- Bernard's father, John Beasley, runs a successful haulage company which moves food around Europe and had broken up fight in truck parks around the continent.
- Karen's mother is named as Alison Hewitt. In the TV series her name is Sue.
- Mrs Hewitt left school at 15 without any qualifications, married the first person who asked her at 16, divorced two years later and was now working part time in a shop that sells greetings cards. She takes an interest in Karen's education not wanting the same to happen to her.
- Karen got Boris the rat from her father implying that she is in touch with him.
- Aunt Bee's late husband inherited the watch from his grandfather. It is not known how he obtained the watch as he never mentioned it. According to his diaries he traveled around the world so he could have got it abroad.
- Aunt Bee tells Bernard he should not use the toilet in frozen time saying it would be messy. However, in the New series episode Loopy Loo Bernard's friend Nathan appears to be able to use the toilet without making a mess.
- In Mrs Donaldson's robberies the staff of the establishments notice the goods disappearing in front of their eyes or shortly after they last looked.
- Karen plays cello in the school orchestra while Bernard is not revealed to play a musical instrument. In the TV series she plays a trombone while Bernard plays a cornet.