If you could go back in time, when and where would you go? This is the question that inventor/scientist/billionaire Miss Z poses to a group of four handpicked 12-year-olds in Flashback Four: The Lincoln Project. Prolific writer Dan Gutman’s new middle-grade series introduces the time-traveling Flashback Four, and in their first adventure, they’re headed to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, in 1863.
The time-travel machine is an ingeniously modified white board, like those found in classrooms across the country. Once the children are convinced that Miss Z is the real deal, they receive their mission: They must take a picture of President Lincoln giving the Gettysburg Address. Because his speech was so short, photographers didn’t have enough time to get a picture, so none exists of this historic event. While their task sounds easy enough after being coached in the manners and speech of the era, all does not go according to plan. A series of unforeseen events keeps the tension high, and the ending tantalizes. Gutman includes helpful asides that expand on interesting historical facts.