The Wrong Wrights

Chris Kientz and Steve Hockensmith, illus. by Lee Nielsen. Smithsonian, $10.95 paper (64p) ISBN 978-1-58834-541-7
First in the Secret Smithsonian Adventures series, this time-bending graphic novel sends a racially diverse quartet of middle school students into the past to fix a corrupted timeline. Not long after Eric, Josephine, Dominique, and Ajay win a trip to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, an inexplicable time shift erases the museum's airplanes, replacing them with dirigibles. A secretive museum guide transports the children back to October 1909, when rival pilots, including Wilbur Wright, were showing off their flying machines as part of the Hudson-Fulton Celebration in New York City. Holographic disguises help the kids blend in, but they soon attract attention as they attempt to stop mysterious adversaries attempting to sabotage Wilbur's flight. Hockensmith (the Nick and Tesla series) and newcomer Kientz supply a fast-moving story full of banter and one-liners, with details drawn from aviation history (a closing page helps set the record straight). Reminiscent of storyboard art, Nielsen's illustrations can look a bit sketchlike and muddied in places, but he does an adept job of conjuring up the story's historical setting and futuristic tech. Ages 9–12. Authors' agent: Josh Getzler, Hannigan Salky Getzler Agency. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 03/07/2016
Release date: 02/23/2016
Genre: Children's
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