Gutman kicks off a new time-travel series featuring four 12-year-olds ready for adventure.
Wheelchair-bound billionaire genius Chris Zandergoth has found a way to warp space and time to make time travel possible, and with her smartboard—which she smugly calls “the smartest smartboard in the world”—she plans to send the foursome back in time to gather photographs for her collection. She starts by sending David, the one African-American in the group, to 1962 to witness Wilt Chamberlain’s 100-point basketball game for the Philadelphia Warriors. When he returns with a souvenir program, he has proven that the Board works, but Miss Z. worries that taking artifacts from the past risks altering the course of history, a concern reminiscent of Ray Bradbury’s “A Sound of Thunder” and many other tales in the genre. Next, they go to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, to witness—and photograph—Lincoln giving the Gettysburg Address. Of course, adventure ensues. The third-person narrative works to keep track of the Flashback Four, the narrator frequently addressing readers directly to fill in historical details. When the Four come across John Wilkes Booth, an interesting historical moral dilemma is raised: is it right to kill a person to prevent a future assassination?
Breezy, good-natured fun and a fair amount of history, too. (author’s note, recommended reading, websites, recommended sites, museums, and living history) (Science fiction. 8-12)