Series: The Left Behinds #2
Published by Crown Books for Young Readers on 1/12/16
Genres: Middle Grade
Source: The Publisher
Percy Jackson fans and readers who have outgrown the Magic Tree House series will embrace this humorous time-travel adventure to Abe Lincoln’s White House and the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863.
Mel, Bev, and Brandon—the Left Behinds—are at it again. When the iTime app on their phones sends them to Washington, D.C., in 1863, they find themselves smack dab in the middle of the Civil War. They sit in on a séance with First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln and are shown every inch of the White House by Tad, the youngest Lincoln. When they drop in on the president himself, Abe Lincoln, he is preoccupied with the fateful battle at Gettysburg, which is just under way.
The kids receive their marching orders—they must somehow travel to Gettysburg from D.C., make sure what’s supposed to happen does happen, save the Union, and be home in time for dinner.
No biggie. After all, it’s only the entire future of the country at stake.
This sequel to The iPhone That Saved George Washington includes an author’s note and information on Civil War reenactments and living history sites around the nation.
With Presidents’ Day being this week, it’s the perfect week to review this cute read that gives kids insight into President Lincoln and his family, along with a few other key players during the Civil War. I was excited to have my kids read this one to go along with our homeschool curriculum, and it didn’t disappoint.
What Fed My Addiction:
- Goofy concept. The whole concept of the kids going back in time via an app on their phones was just plain fun! And, of course, when the people in the past were exposed to such futuristic technology, they didn’t know what to think. Lots of wackiness ensued!
- First families. I have to admit that when I first started reading this book, I thought, “Well this book makes Mrs. Lincoln seem kind of crazy, and it makes Tad Lincoln look a bit hyperactive.” I doubted how true to life this was, especially since I assumed that the children of the time would be encouraged to be seen and not heard. But before I made too many judgments, I decided to flip to the back of the book to read the author’s notes. Well, it turns out that Potter based his book on information written by people who knew the family well (make sure to read those author notes to see what he has to say about it himself!). I was a bit shocked to hear about this side of the first family that we rarely hear about – after all, Lincoln was such a great president that it’s easy to forget that he had a homelife and that it might not have been perfect. I found this fascinating and it sparked some really interesting conversation between my daughter and I!
- Perfect tone for MG. The book description says that this book is for kids who enjoyed Magic Treehouse books but have grown out of them, and I found that to be absolutely true. My daughter loved the MT books when she was younger and I loved that she was learning from them. These books definitely have an older feel to them, but the voice is distinctly middle grade (boy). There were lots of references to video games (Clash of Clans, anyone?) and technology, and the MC sounded a lot like my thirteen-year-old son. My daughter really enjoyed reading this one, and I’m guessing my son will too when I manage to have him read it.
What Left Me Wanting More:
- More history? I would have personally liked a smattering more of the actual history. While there were definitely references to certain events in the final battle of the Civil War and we definitely got a solid impression of the Lincoln family and a few of the major military players, I would have loved to see a bit more about the whys and hows of the Civil War itself. Of course, my kids would probably disagree with me and think that more history would make it boring, but I still would have loved to see it.
This book would make a fun companion to any Civil War unit, but kids will appreciate it just for the entertainment value. We’ll definitely be picking up the first book (about George Washington) as well. This book did have some references to things that had happened in book one, but we didn’t feel too confused by jumping in on the second book. Still, you might want to pick up both! I give this book 4/5 stars.
***Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given and all opinions are my own.***
About the Author
David Potter developed a love for American history as a boy growing up near Morristown, New Jersey, where George Washington spent the winters of 1777 and 1779. He was inspired to write The Left Behinds: The iPhone That Saved George Washington while taking his children to the annual Christmas reenactment of Washington’s Crossing the Delaware.
The premise of the novel is simple: three modern day kids, armed with nothing more than their iPhones and their attitudes, find themselves thrust back into a pivotal point in American history. They know how things are supposed to turn out, but will they? The kids are going to have to come through in the clutch – or else!