The discovery that time actually does move more slowly in the back of a classroom than in the front puts a trio of amateur sleuths on the trail of even more startling revelations.
It looks like the Exploration-Mystery-Unbelievable Club’s search for a new mystery to investigate is going nowhere, until school starts and club president Stuart’s complaint that the afternoons really seem to drag leads to a surreptitious experiment with an astonishing result. As it turns out, the maintenance closet adjacent to the back wall is a time portal, and new custodian Mr. Hartoonian is a traveler sent from the future to prevent an upcoming world war. Unfortunately, the club’s interference not only derails his mission, but leaves him stranded in this era with a broken time machine. Even with help from Stuart’s dog, Ferdinand, who is, as readers of Alien Invasion in My Backyard (2015) will know, an alien robot, getting said mission back on track and saving the Earth (once again) isn’t going to be easy. Bolling casts his officious narrator as a legend in his own mind, surrounds him with smarter allies, trucks in a particularly lamebrain bully, and presents the headlong caper as a hand-lettered “official report” on graph paper with taped-in cartoon “photographs.” An appendix offers basic information about actual emus and briefly outlines the “butterfly effect.”
A pleaser for Wimpy Kid fans as well as any students who find the last few minutes before the bell rings an eternity. (Graphic/hybrid mystery. 8-10)