Name this children's book.
March 28, 2009 2:55 PM   Subscribe

What is the name of this children's novel that includes time travel, Ben Franklin, some kids and a professor, and two versions of the same character, one of which is from several days in the future?

I'm dying to track down this novel I read as a kid. If I remember correctly, a few kids/teenagers and a professor were in a house where Benjamin Frankling used to live, and they went back in time and met him. There was a character named (I think) Joe, and there was also a character nicknamed Joe Thursday (or something like that), because before going back in time the characters traveled a few days into the future and picked up future Joe. The time machine was either a secret compartment in the house or maybe an elevator.

I feel like this book was part of a running series, something along the lines of the Three Investigators, but I'm not sure.
posted by Tin Man to Writing & Language (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Danny Dunn, Time Traveler.
posted by kindall at 3:13 PM on March 28, 2009

This sounds a lot like a video game I played years back, called 'Maniac Mansion: day of the tentacle'...not all the details coincide, but it's similar...

NOT a book, Iknow. Not the same names, I know...
posted by miss_scarlett at 3:13 PM on March 28, 2009

Seconding Danny Dunn. That was a fun series! You never see them anymore, wonder why...
posted by The otter lady at 3:36 PM on March 28, 2009

The Time Warp Trio? But it doesn't appear to be a plot line of any of the books listed on Wikipedia.
posted by GuyZero at 6:47 PM on March 28, 2009

Also, the Time Warp Trio were written less than 10 years ago, so unless you're 12 that's probably not it.
posted by GuyZero at 6:47 PM on March 28, 2009

The Time Garden by Edward Eager is more likely because it's older but I'm unsure if they meet Ben Franklin in the book. It is set in Massachusetts though. That's also part of a running series - Half Magic, Seven-day Magic, et al.
posted by GuyZero at 6:51 PM on March 28, 2009

But, reading the summary of Danny Dunn, that has to be it.
posted by GuyZero at 6:51 PM on March 28, 2009

For a long time it's been in the back of my head to ask about a series from the 70s involving a robot dragonfly and repairing a dam with some new adhesive. As soon as I saw your question, I recognized the characters. (The books ended up being Danny Dunn, Invisible Boy and Danny Dunn and the Universal Glue.) Thanks kindall!
posted by Mapes at 6:54 PM on March 28, 2009

Kindall -- that must be it. You have my everlasting gratitude. I have wondered about this book for years. Zod bless AskMe. And now to get myself a copy...

(And miss_scarlett -- I love Day of the Tentacle. Indeed, there are some plot similarities...)
posted by Tin Man at 9:04 PM on March 28, 2009

Danny Dunn, Time Traveler, you betcha. I remember that book (the other favorite one from the Danny Dunn series was Danny Dunn, Invisible Boy, the one where Professor Bullfinch had invented this tiny robotic dragonfly that must have been the precursor of what we now know as virtual reality—as I recall, Danny put this helmet on and manipulated these controls, and felt as if he were flying all over the place. Way cool!)

Needless to say, I loved those books when I was a kid. :-) I suppose someday, when they get around to e-booking all of the major publishers' backlists, we can find these out-of-print books again more easily—and perhaps cheaper—than rooting around the used booksellers online.

Check out the widely varying prices on used books—on Amazon, Amazon Marketplace sellers are vending Danny Dunn, Invisible Boy book at prices ranging from $5.47 to $99.99! What, a hundred bucks? I liked that book, but I'm not paying that much for it!
posted by kentk at 11:00 PM on March 28, 2009

It is definitely Danny Dunn, Time Traveler. Tin Man, if you can't find a copy let me know and I'll look for my old copy when I'm at my old house next month.
posted by mikepop at 5:29 AM on March 30, 2009

kentk: Wow, I remember the dragonfly book, too! Mapes mentioned that one upthread, but it didn't hit me until you went into more detail. Until now it was stuck in some long-dormant recess of my brain. It's weird that I read *two* books of this series and yet "Danny Dunn" still doesn't strike a bell.

mikepop: Thanks so much -- I'll let you know.
posted by Tin Man at 8:27 AM on March 30, 2009

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