#212 – The Templeton Twins Have an Idea, Book 1 By Ellis Weiner

5 Stars

The Templeton Twins Have an Idea, Book 1

Ellis Weiner

Jeremy Holmes

Chronicle Books

232 Pages    Ages: 9 to 12

Back Cover: The Templeton Twins must use all their cleverness to foil kidnappers and blah, blah, blah, blah. They figure it all out in the end. Done.

Jacket: Suppose there were 12-year-old twins, a boy and a girl named (respectively) John and Abigail Templeton. Let’s say JOHN WAS PRAGMATIC and played the drums and ABIGAIL WAS THEORETICAL and solved cryptic crosswords. Now suppose THEIR FATHER WAS A BRILLIANT, if sometimes confused, INVENTOR.

And suppose that another set of twins—adults—named DEAN D. DEAN AND DAN D. DEAN kidnapped the Templeton twins and their ridiculous dog in order to get their father to turn over one of his genius (sort of) inventions. YES, I SAID KIDNAPPED. Wouldn’t it be fun to read about that? Oh, please. It would so.


As you have read, there is a set of twins named John and Abigail Templeton. Their mother died when they were twelve, which just happens to be the age they still are. After a period of mourning, the twins returned to school and their lives. Their father, who you now know is an inventor, had a harder time returning to his job and his life. Oh, his name is Professor Templeton.

The twins had wanted a dog but their parents said, “Yes, but not now.” The twins decided that now was the time, so they asked their father in an “exciting and commanding” fashion and he agreed that now was the time for a dog. Enter Cassie, the Ridiculous Dog, a fox terrier.

That is the Templeton family.

Professor Templeton returned to work, then came home and told the twins they were moving. He accepted a position at Tick-Tock Tech in, oh, sorry, at Tickeridge-Baltock Institute of Technology in a new town. In this new town, another set of twins, much older twins—you know their names—kidnapped the Templeton twins. Dean D. Dean held the twins for a ransom of the “One-Man Helicopter Mister Professor Big Shot Templeton” invented.

The twins had a Nanny named Nanny Nan. She was of no help when the kidnapping occurred—she died on the spot, or maybe Dean D. Dean killed her.

The Temple Twins Have an Idea is a wonderfully funny read. The narrator is also a character but never acknowledges this. He is also the author of the book, he said. He is not thrilled to be writing it and thinks you should not read it, but if you do, you must pay attention. The book begins with a prologue, most likely the shortest prologue in literary history.

Prologue: The Beginning
The End
Questions for Review

Oops, I almost forgot. The Narrator asks questions at the end of every chapter, which acts as a review of said chapter. Some of the questions are tricky, so be careful when you read this book. Yes, despite what The Narrator has said, do read this book. Brilliant, clever inventors and their equally brilliant and clever children make for a uniquely odd and humorous case study of families—that are brilliant and clever. The reason behind the kidnapping will have you thinking twice if you deal with students, or if you are a student.

In many ways, The Templeton Twins Have an Idea reminds me of the Lemony Snicket Unfortunate Series. No, difficult words are not explained. No, the twins are not placed in the care of one relative after another. No, The Narrator is not actually in the story. Okay, in one way The Templeton Twins Have an Idea reminds me of the Lemony Snicket Unfortunate Series. The Narrator’s attitude is similar to that of Snicket’s. Both are sarcastic, at times caustic, and most certainly disdainful. You’ll like it.

There are some illustrations, many of the doodle kind. Then there are the page or spread with a line drawing, usually on bluish-grey graph paper. One is a cut-away of the house were the twins were held captive by the twins. Others are on a darker plain gray background, such as the one of the quad at Tick-Tock Tech, with the clocks of various shapes and sizes on each of the buildings. This is where the students simultaneously enter and leave buildings or throw Frisbees. I like the illustrations. They add to the odd tone The Narrator establishes from Prologue 1.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Templeton Twins Have an Idea. The story flows nicely, even with The Narrator’s interruptions. The layout is great and kept my eyes entertained. I think reluctant readers will like this book and have no trouble keeping with the story. The plot is simple. Disgruntled student kidnaps children of Professor that disgruntled him; children outsmart dimwitted student and his twin. The why and the how are great fun both boys and girls will enjoy.

Personally, I cannot wait for book two to arrive. Is there a message? Do not cheat on tests, or have another student do your reports, or sleep through class. Doing so will not entitle you to a C grade. Other than those, The Templeton Twins Have an Idea, Book 1 is a fun time that gets better with each turn of the page.


The Templeton Twins Have an Idea: Book One

Author: Ellis Weiner    website      book’s site
Illustrator: Jeremy Holmes    website     dribble
Publisher: Chronicle Books    blog    website
Release Date: September 2012
ISBN: 978-0-8118-6679-8
Number of Pages: 232
Ages: 9 to 12
Copyright ©2012 by Ellis Weiner, Jeremy Holmes, & Chronicle Books, used with permission.



20 thoughts on “#212 – The Templeton Twins Have an Idea, Book 1 By Ellis Weiner

  1. Pingback: #464 – The Templeton Twins Make a Scene: Book #2 by Ellis Weiner & Jeremy Holmes | Kid Lit Reviews

  2. Pingback: Armchair BEA 2013: Final Day | Kid Lit Reviews

  3. This reminds me of Sideways Stories from Wayside School! Not the plot, or anything, but more the tone, especially the questions from the narrator. You’ll have to check out Louis Sachar. I think you’ll love the series!

    Thanks for hosting the hop!


  4. “…sarcastic, at times caustic, and most certainly disdainful” narrator? SOLD!! My kind of book. Really, really, really curious about this one. I’m trying to convince my daughter to read a Lemony Snicket book, but to no avail. Probably because I suggested it … I’ll wait for her to come to it on her own, I guess! lol

    Thanks for linking this post in the Kid Lit Blog Hop and it’s great to have you on board as one of the Hostesses! 😀


  5. I love the sound of this, putting it on the to-read list. The way you describe the narrator reminds me a bit of how Philip Ardargh write the Eddie Dickens books.Great revewi, can’t wait to read it. Cheers Julie


  6. This sounds like an intelligent and cleverly clever book. I definitely want to read this book and chat with the somewhat sarcastic and humorous author, as those are my favorite kind of authors. Quite possibly, Ellis Weiner is in the same gene pool as Lemony Snicket and through some adoption mishap doesn’t know it. The book sounds fantastic, and fantastic books don’t grow on trees, you know.


    • Hey Canada Author! Long time, no long comment. You must be really be impressed with this fantastic, cleverly intelligent, cleverly clever, fantastic book. (I need to send you a thesaurus–do you think maybe this was once a dinosaur?)

      I do not know anything about gene pools, but I do know you would love this story. It is so nice to see so many Lemony Snicket fans here today. But this is not a gene book mix-up. Ellis Weiner is the author. See, he was here. (look down.)

      Diane, don’t forget to come back now, ya’ hear? 😉


  7. Thank you, KLR, for this lovely write-up. I wish I could take credit for hiring Jeremy Holmes, but I can’t–he was brought on by our editor at Chronicle. I can’t wait to see what he does with Book 2. And Genevieve Petrillo, that dog looks very much like a dog I used to have. Do people constantly stop you on the street and ask, “Is that a Jack Russell?” Of course they do.

    Ellis Weiner


    • Mr. Weiner,

      Thank you for stopping by. I greatly appreciate this. We love authors here, even those who hire sardonic narrators. I loved The Temple Twins and am waiting, IMPATIENTLY, for book 2. So why are you here? Why aren’t you working on book 2? So, go, please. Go work on book 2!


  8. Hi, Everyone!

    I really recommend you get The Templeton Twins Have an Idea, soon. But first, I have an announcement (I should have made sooner, sorry).

    Ellis Weiner, the author, and Jeremy Holmes, the illustrator, will be stopping by sometime today.

    The Narrator will not be attending. He is busy with book two, The Templeton Twins Make a Scene.

    Leave them a note, if you like.


    • You MUST read this book.

      Then review it, okay? I would like to know what you think. Though, I sorta already know what you’ll think. I think you will love it. I really do.

      I would send you the copy I was sent if it was not earmarked for the library. You know, reviewer-to-reviewer. So sorry kiddo.


    • Yeah, poor Cassie doesn’t even know it. She has never heard this name. Only The Narrator calls Cassie the “Ridiculous Dog.” I told you he was something else. Read the book. I know you and your person will like it. You will also want to bite The Narrator. Go ahead, it’s okay.


    • If I hadn’t already read Lemony’s newest book, I would be highly tempted to ask the author if he knew Lemony or invited him to be The Narrator.

      Still, I liked the Lemony Snicket books I have read and, MORE IMPORTANTLY, I liked The Templeton Twins and I really believe you will too, especially since you are a Snicket fan.

      Hurry, go get the book. Soon word will spread and the book will be in demand. 🙂


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