A sprightly time travel tale, the inaugural novel in the Blast to the Past series opens as third-grade teacher Mr. Caruthers asks his students his weekly "What if?" question.
After posing his latest hypothetical ("What if Abraham Lincoln quit and never issued the Emancipation Proclamation?"), the teacher asks a quartet of kids to meet him in the classroom after school. There, he tells chatty, affable narrator Abigail, twins Jacob and Zack, as well as Bo, a history-savvy new student, that he earlier that morning had traveled back to Washington, D.C., in 1862 to convince Abraham Lincoln not to go through with his plan to quit the presidency. Since Mr. Caruthers's efforts had failed, he asks the four youngsters to try to dissuade Lincoln from resigning and gives them his hand-held computer, programmed to deliver them to the capital city on the very day that Lincoln is to issue the Proclamation—if he stays in the job. Though there may be little suspense as to the story's outcome and some hokey twists, the vivid descriptions of Civil War–era Washington and some diverting plot twists (including the students' decision to whisk the war-weary president to present-day Washington to show him the Lincoln Memorial) make for engaging reading. With its relatively short length, full-page art and accessible writing, this is a good choice for reluctant readers. Ages 7-10. (Jan.)
Release date: 01/01/2005