by Ellis Weiner
Jeremy Holmes, illustrator
Inside Jacket: “Professor Templeton has been hired by TAPAS (Thespian Academy of the Performing Arts and Sciences) to create another brilliant (and decidedly theatrical) device. A new school, a new invention, ad a new nanny . . . but DEAN D. DEAN and DAN D. DEAN are up to their old tricks. So Abigail and John must once again draw upon their brains, their bravery, and their hobbies (respectively, doing CRYPTIC CROSSWORDS and PLAYING THE DRUMS) to save the day.”
Opening: “Dear Reader: I was going to start this book with a note of apology, written with my own hand. I was going to say how sorry I was if, while you are reading this book, you find yourself dismayed at having NOT read the book that comes before it, which is called The Templeton Twins Have an Idea.”
Professor Elton Templeton is at a new school, again, with a new brilliant invention, again, and the twins must help their father, again. Sounds repetitive but the story is nothing like book one. Sure, Dean D. Dean wants a share of the Professor’s new invention and the money it could bring in, just like in book one, and Professor Templeton will not allow it, just like in book one, and the twins, John and Abigail, try to help their father get rid of the Dean twins, just like in the book one, but I swear this is a new and maybe improved story.
Professor Dean is once again at a new university. The man is brilliant and every university seems to make him better and better offers. This time it is The Thespian Academy of the Performing Arts and Sciences, or TAPAS for short. The university is on the verge of closing its doors for good unless the professor’s latest invention is a hit. What is the invention? If you must know, it is the Live Performance Horizontal-Tracking Individual Close-Up Lens. Dean D. Dean shows up insisting he is the professor’s partner—and privy to monetary compensation.
If you read book one, you know that Dean D. Dean was once a student of Professor Templeton and failed the professor’s class flunking out of college. Dean has been vengefully trying to punish the professor and steal his inventions for his own gain. Somehow, Dean got his brother Dan D. Dean to help with the schemes, but I think Dean does not really want to help Dean (Dan-Dean). The Templeton twins are protective of their father, which aggravates Dean. Last time the Dean twins kidnapped the Templeton twins. This time Cassie, the Templeton twins “ridiculous dog” is the victim.
By now you should know whom the MIC (Most Important Character), happens to be in book two. No? All right, I will tell you. The most important “character” is the Narrator and if you do not believe me, read the book and he will tell you I am correct. Not a joke as he tells no jokes. The Narrator considers his words the most important part of this book. Of course, without his words there would be nothing to read.
Mr. Narrator is intrusive. You will be contently reading and the Narrator will cut you off to speak—to you. This is most often to remind the reader of his importance or to quiz the reader. Yep, there is a quiz at the end of every chapter but the last (he was tired so maybe he forgot). As in book one, The Templeton Twins Have an Idea (reviewed here), the self-important Narrator neglected to put the answer key in the back of the book.
So the Narrator writes the exploits of the Templeton Twins and their ridiculous dog, but I believe he enjoys this more than he lets on. The Narrator actually causes the book to be fun and often funny with his egotistical narration and side comments. He could easily steal the story away from Abigail and John. Kids will like the Narrator and his silly remarks, pop quizzes, and his drawings.
Drawn on bluish-gray graph paper or a darker solid paper the illustrations fit the tone of the book and the cover. The characters, with their super-slim bodies, do not represent the reading population, but I doubt they care. If seen out side of the book, I think one could easily recognize these characters as belonging to the Templeton Twins series.
There is one new character, Manny Mann, the new nanny. Nanny Manny Mann is the upbeat nephew of Professor Templton’s boss, Gwendolyn Splendide, a one-time movie star. In every book, one character cannot get the Abigail’s name correct Ms. Splendide is that person. She has no idea what Abigail’s (Adelaide, Amaryllis, Agatha) name is, not once.
I really enjoyed this second book of the series. Kids, boys and girls, will enjoy the narrator and his story. The twins solve this Dean Twin mess once again and will each time the Deans try to pull a fast one on the Templeton, though dad (the professor), seem to be slower to recognize an attack. The Templeton Twins are brilliant kids like their father (who would be a brilliant man, though he was probably a brilliant kid, too).
I found the 272 pages flew on by as I read this in one sitting—not counting bathroom breaks and snack breaks, stopping to play with the cats, and answering the phone (which didn’t ring). If pop quizzes bother you, I think you can skip them without gaining the Narrator’s wrath, as long as you do not tell him. Is there a message? Well, I would say be wary of smart-aleck Narrators, though I doubt he would agree. Right does prevail, though wrong bounces back and will in books three, four, and five . . . Whatever the message is to you, the story will be a great read that will end much too soon.
The Narrator has this to say about the Templeton Twins series: “This is the second in a series perfect for boys and girls who are smart, clever (just like the twins) and enjoy reading adventurous stories (and really, who doesn’t).” I would add that reluctant readers should have no problem sticking with the fun story. The chapters are short and any unusual word is defined in a footnote. The Templeton Twins is a wonderful series with zany inventions, two great kids who back up their father, and twisted characters you will long remember.
Released October 1, 2013
Age 8 to 12
THE TEMPLETON TWINS MAKE A SCENE. Text copyright © 2013 by Ellis Weiner. Illustrations copyright © 2013 by Jeremy Holmes. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Chronicle Books, San Francisco CA.
- Ten Hilarious Words That Every Inventive Kid Should Know (kindlepost.com)