Riley Cobb makes fast friends with her new neighbor, science nerd, Toby Turtlebaub. His dad can’t seem to keep a job and is fired on his first day of work. This means that the Turtlebaub family will be moving again. Toby and Riley decide to travel back in time to find something that will make his family wealthy, so they don’t have to move.
Riley doesn’t believe that Toby can time travel, especially when he shows her his time machine which is a battered, old lunchbox. However, as soon as Toby punches in digits, they begin traveling back in time. Unfortunately, a freakish-looking man, Dan Brown, seems to always be one step ahead of them messing up all their plans. Accidentally, they also end up changing history – from the Titanic never sinking to Davy Crockett becoming the 9th president; the adventures go on and on.
This is a funny story. With Toby being a science nerd, it mixes some scientific facts along with the story. Captain Bart is a very colorful, smelly fellow. Toby and Riley try to make their way home many times, but they never know where they’ll end up. The story had me wondering if it was all a dream or an awesome adventure!
So what if Toby Turtletaub is smart? His family is cursed. No Turtletaub has ever kept a job, or lived in a town, for more than a few weeks. By the time his dad moves the family to Burdock Falls, Toby can’t even remember the last ten schools he attended, but he can name all 118 atomic elements and their properties. So when he’s declared a science god by the entire school, it’s the first time in his life Toby hasn’t felt like a loser. Too bad by the time he returns home from school, his dad has already lost his job.
But Toby doesn’t want to move. Ever. Luckily, the know-it-all girl next door, Riley Cobb has an answer. Using Toby’s vast knowledge of science, Riley’s Electronic Pocket Encyclopedia, and piece of a black hole purchased online, they build a lunch box time machine to zap them centuries into the past where they can change the history of the Turtletaub family – or at least grab a fortune in pirate treasure. Unfortunately, the treasure they discover comes with a bloodthirsty Captain Kidd. And he’s a buccaneer with a bad case of gas who is determined to follow them home.