Monday, June 13, 2016

The Wrong Wrights

The Smithsonian has started an interesting graphic history series based on their museum exhibits that starts with the Air and Space Museum. In The Wrong Wrights (Secret Smithsonian Adventures) a group of students wins a trip to the Smithsonian to see the Air and Space exhibit. However, upon their arrival they discover a problem, the exhibits they expected to see of flight and space travel have been replaced by balloons and dirigibles. The museum is now the Air and Wind Museum. They quickly discover this is not a hoax, but a problem with the time line. It appears someone has much to gain by stopping the advancement of flight.

The students are involuntarily recruited to travel back in time to straighten out a problem with the time line. The story introduces students not only to the Wright brothers, but to Glenn Curtiss and Thomas Scott Baldwin who also were pursuing flight at the same time as the Wrights. As part of the time changing time line, Orville doesn't fly the plane in this book, his sister dresses up as him to try to preserve as much of history as she can.

I think the series has potential for engaging kids in learning more about history and encouraging some interest during those visits to the Smithsonian. The author seems to have a target audience of middle schoolers for this series. However, based on the language, the plot, and the support of the pictures I think elementary students would enjoy the story as well.

The sequel Claws and Effect (Secret Smithsonian Adventures)is due out in October and a quick hint is provided at the end of the first book. I believe they will be off to the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History.

Smithsonian Air & Space Museum can provide more support resources and background for the book.

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