The Wrong Wrights (Secret Smithsonian Adventures) by Steve Hockensmith and Chris Kientz, illustrated by Lee Nielsen

Published by Smithsonian Books 

Summary:  Four kids are awarded a trip to the Smithsonian’s Air and Space Museum for winning the district science fair.  When they get there, they discover that, instead of airplanes, the exhibit halls are filled with hot air balloons and dirigibles.  They’ve accidentally stumbled into an alternate reality, and before you can say “Kitty Hawk”, they are whisked back in time to a crucial point in aviation history.  On a windy day in 1909, the Wright brothers, Glenn Curtiss, and Thomas Scott Baldwin demonstrated their flying machines.  Only the Wright brothers were successful, and this led to greater financial support for the airplane, and less for the other types of aircraft.  The kids, with the help of Katherine Wright (Orville and Wilbur’s sister) are able to defeat other time travelers who are trying to help Curtiss and Baldwin, and secure the Wrights’ place in history.  When they return to the present, the airplanes are back in place at the Air and Space Museum.  64 pages; grades 3-6

Pros:  History, time travel, and science are pleasantly mingled in this graphic novel, which is apparently the first in a series published by the Smithsonian.

Cons:  Some of the time travel seemed a little too “Scooby Doo” and not particularly well thought-out.

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