Over the past five years, I’ve read and reviewed over 140 time travel books for this blog. Here are the middle grade ones I thought were funniest, in no particular order. These books are good for kids in grades 3-6. Everyone likes to laugh, and a funny book can be appealing even to a kid who doesn’t much like to read. The summaries here are from Goodreads unless otherwise noted. The last three books may be out of print, but used copies are pretty easy to find.
Tut, Tut (The Time Warp Trio, #6)
by Jon Scieszka
Puffin, 2004, 80 pages
From Scholastic: The Time Warp trio takes off for some Ancient Egyptian action. Fred wants to run his fingers through the treasure of King Tut; Sam thinks it would be awful to be a mummy; and Joe wants to ask the Sphinx the questions on the Egyptian History worksheet. But when the trio wind up on the banks of the Nile, hieroglyphic hilarity is guaranteed
Back in Time with Benjamin Franklin: A Qwerty Stevens Adventure
by Dan Gutman
Simon and Shuster, 2005, 192 pages
When he returns to the present after helping Thomas Edison invent the lightbulb, thirteen-year-old computer whiz Qwerty Stevens decides to put away his Anytime Anywhere Machine — the past is just too risky!But now Qwerty finds himself facing a new challenge: writing a history paper on the American Revolution, due in under one hour. This task might seem impossible to any other kid, but not to Qwerty Stevens! With the help of the Anytime Anywhere Machine, Qwerty gets more than just a paper on the Declaration of Independence: He gets Benjamin Franklin himself sitting on his bed.
by Dana Reinhardt
Yearling, 2014, 208 pages
Fourth grader Odessa Green-Light lives with her mom and her toad of a little brother, Oliver. Her dad is getting remarried, which makes no sense according to Odessa. If the prefix “re” means “to do all over again,” shouldn’t he be remarrying Mom? Meanwhile, Odessa moves into the attic room of their new house. One day she gets mad and stomps across the attic floor. Then she feels as if she is falling and lands . . . on the attic floor. Turns out that Odessa has gone back in time a whole day! With this new power she can fix all sorts of things–embarrassing moments, big mistakes, and even help Oliver be less of a toad. Her biggest goal: reunite Mom and Dad.
by Page McBrier
Palm Canyon Press, 2014, 242 pages
When Fletcher Perry mysteriously wins the bid for a genuine mummy’s coffin at a magician’s tag sale, he decides to use it as a prop in his upcoming magic show at school. Then Fletcher and his new assistant, the mega-popular Arielle Torres, find themselves unexpectedly transported via the coffin back to King Tut’s temple, where Fletcher’s modern-day magic tricks attract the attention of the young king’s guardians. Thinking Fletcher must be a powerful sorcerer, the guardians press him into service as the king’s special protector. Fletcher and Arielle, however, know that Tut is destined to die in his teens, and so the race is on for them to decipher the message on a mysterious amulet, locate their missing coffin, and get home before Fletcher’s magic is revealed to be just so much hocus-pocus. This action-packed adventure is unstoppable. Abracadabra Tut pulls readers into an exciting journey filled with stage magic, mystery, chariots, cobras, and historical intrigue.
11 Birthdays: A Wish Novel
by Wendy Mass
Scholastic Paperbacks, 2010, 272 pages
It’s Amanda’s 11th birthday and she is super excited — after all, 11 is so different from 10. But from the start, everything goes wrong. The worst part of it all is that she and her best friend, Leo, with whom she’s shared every birthday, are on the outs and this will be the first birthday they haven’t shared together. When Amanda turns in for the night, glad to have her birthday behind her, she wakes up happy for a new day. Or is it? Her birthday seems to be repeating itself. What is going on?! And how can she fix it? Only time, friendship, and a little luck will tell. . .
by Linda Sue Park
Yearling, 2008, 176 pages
In Dorchester, New York, Kevin is doing his homework when suddenly an arrow comes out of nowhere and pins his baseball cap to the wall. The man who shot the arrow claims he fell off a tiger . . . and wound up in Kevin’s room. It’s not long before Kevin realizes that the man, who calls himself Chu-mong, or Great Archer, is no ordinary burglar, but a traveler from far away in both space and time.
A visit to the local museum confirms that there was a king named Chu-mong in ancient Korea who was legendary for many accomplishments, including exceptional skill with bow and arrow. Kevin knows little about his own Korean heritage, but he understands that unless Archer returns to his people and his throne, history will be changed forever. And he’s determined to help Archer go back, no matter what it takes.
Infinity Ring series
When best friends Dak Smyth and Sera Froste stumble upon the secret of time travel-a hand-held device known as the Infinity Ring-they’re swept up in a centuries-long secret war for the fate of mankind. Recruited by the Hystorians, a secret society that dates back to Aristotle, the kids learn that history has gone disastrously off course. Now it’s up to Dak, Sera, and teenage Hystorian-in-training Riq to travel back in time to fix the Great Breaks…and to save Dak’s missing parents while they’re at it. First stop: Spain, 1492, where a sailor named Christopher Columbus is about to be thrown overboard in a deadly mutiny
Walking with the Dead
by LM Falcone
Kids Can Press, 2005, 196 pages (OOP)
Alex’s father brings home a perfectly preserved ancient Greek corpse as an exhibit for Oddities, the weird museum in their basement. After Alex peeks in the coffin, he starts having crazy dreams, gets struck by lightning and falls through a door into the night sky. Then things take a turn for the seriously weird when, after more than 2000 years, the corpse wakes up! This lively cadaver needs help, so big-hearted Alex and his sidekick, Freddie, find themselves on a mission to the world of the dead. They dodge monsters, three-headed dogs, gorgons with snakes for hair — and much worse — all in an attempt to help a lost soul in serious trouble. How in Hades will the boys ever get home again?
Princess in The Pigpen
by Jane Resh Thomas
Clarion Books, 1989, 144 pages (OOP)
After tossing feverishly on her sick-bed in seventeenth-century England, Elizabeth, daughter of the Duke of Umberland, awakens to find herself mysteriously transported to a farm in twentieth-century Iowa.
by Steve Young
HarperCollins, 2006, 176 pages (OOP)
But when Casey discovers a weird little time machine, he figures he’ll never be late again. Unfortunately, it’s not a very good time machine. It can only go back 15 minutes. And it seems to have a mind of its own.
Still — what could possibly go wrong?
Some really great reads. The Infinity Ring really grabs my attention!