The Templeton Twins Have an Idea: Book Oneby Published 03 Aug 2012
|The Templeton Twins Have an Idea: Book One.pdf|
|Publisher||Chronicle Books LLC|
Suppose there were 12-year-old twins, a boy and girl named 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. Luckily for you, this is just the first in a series perfect for boys and girls who are smart, clever, and funny (just like the twins), and enjoy reading adventurous stories (who doesn't?!).
"The Templeton Twins Have an Idea: Book One" Reviews
Ahh. What's the word?
Not necessarily acting like a jerk, but more... something. There's a word for it...
Eh. I'll go with rude. Oh yes, and careless.
You know, the narrator of this book is both rude and careless. In fact, I just get the impression while I'm reading that he (yes, it does say on the back flap that it's a he) simply doesn't care about enough about his audience while he's telling the story. Like he's above them. Acting like he's doing you a favor by telling you the story.
To be honest, I think I detect a little bit of Lemony Snicket and Pseudonymous Bosch in here. Okay, the slightest pinch of Lemony Snicket and a few drops of Pseudonymous Bosch. All I'm going to say is, I think that there are very few people who can pull off storytelling the way that Lemony Snicket and Pseudonymous Bosch can without coming off as the above words.
And, in the spirit of honesty, I don't believe Ellis Weiner was able to pull it off like they can.
Overall, the plot of the book wasn't bad. I liked the story and the Templeton twins as characters. But the narrator? He just annoyed me at every single page of the story.
I think that middle-grade readers and even elementary school kids can enjoy this story. About fourth grade to sixth or seventh. But for an adult or teenager? They might find it annoying like I did.
Congrats, Jeremy Holms. I really liked the pictures you put into this story. It gave the book an extra star. Keep on illustrating. 3 stars.
This review and more are on my blog: http://middleschoolersreadtoo.wordpre...
i read this because i came across an excerpt that made it sound really fun. despite my aversion to twins, and my not reading much middle grade, i thought i would enjoy this, because - puzzles! and chapters with names like Other Things Happen In An Exciting Manner!and an intrusive aggressive narrator who berates the reader throughout the story and gives questions at the end of every chapter such as What were the names of Abigail and John, the Templeton twins? and Explain, in fifty words or less, why you believe the story will actually get started, and why it will be wonderful. sign me up, even though i am so much taller than all the other readers of this series!
now, i have never read any of those lemony snicket or pseudonymous bosch books, but i gather the tone and the device are similar? and judging by the continued success of those books, i guess the kids go nuts for it. but this one has very limited crossover appeal into the world of the adult reader. again - i know tons of grown folk love that lemony snicket fellow, so it's probably quite different than this one, which i think is best left to younger readers.
for me, the gimmick of the narrator's self-insertion was overused. the book doesn't even start until seven pages and three fake prologues of stalling, and the plot is constantly interrupted by more of the same. it's cute at first, but it gets old quickly. if you remove all the asides and interruptions, you lose at least half of the actual pages, and you never even learn who the narrator actually is, and why they are being forced to write this story, despite all the hints and promises - probably to encourage readers to continue with the series. and the tone of the narrator changes too frequently, from abusive to cajoling to pandering to megalomaniac to just silly.
the story itself, in the spaces when it is allowed to occur, is fine, nothing special. i did enjoy the puzzles, even though they are scaled down to middle-grade level, but it's still fun to encounter puzzles in a story, although Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library did it better.
shrug. it's a kid's book, and younger readers will probably have a blast reading it while they are rolling around on those little wheeled sneakers of theirs and living rent-free while shoving bags of candy into their skinny little bodies and getting to sit on stuffed animals bigger than they are.
conclusion: being a grown-up is no fun at all.
This book is just so darn cooool looking. Seriously. Find a copy on the shelf, pick it up, and flip through it. See? If you really don't want to leave your computer screen (I can't blame ya), check out some sample pages here. See? So cute! And it is all in blue ink, including the story text, which has driven me crazy in the past (Shiver, for example), but it works here. The cutesy look of it all offers a nice counterbalance to the snarky, frightening, borderline dark tone of the book. The narrator is condescending, and sarcastic, and is all about the snark, but it doesn't feel contrived.. It makes sense, and definitely makes you laugh. The titular characters, John and Abigail Templeton are fantastic. They are intelligent, resourceful, clever, and have more than one idea. There are puzzles, a complete recipe for meatloaf, and a thoroughly engrossing mystery with just enough twists and turns. As far as the actual plotline goes, I will leave you with the summary from the back cover: "The Templeton twins must use all their cleverness to foil kidnappers and blah blah blah. They figure it all out in the end. Done."
Before Abigail and John Templeton are even born, their professor father was pestered by a student who is unhappy with his grade, but when news comes that the birth is imminent, the professor rushes out without giving the student any satisfaction. Years later, the family is reeling from the death of the mother. Professor Templeton is working on his Personal One-Man Helicopter, and Tickeridge-Baltock (Tick-Tock Tech) will give him more funding than his current employer. The twins are not happy to be uprooted (along with their active terrier), although the nanny they get (Nanny Nan Noonan) is pleasant enough. These things are immaterial when Dean Dean shows up and claims that the Personal One-Man Helicopter was his idea, and he was the student brushed off by the professor on the way to the twins' birth. He hates the twins and literally wishes they had never been born, so kidnaps them in hopes that he can get the professor to sign away his rights to the POMH. Complications ensue, the narrator intersperses the story with quizzes and monologues, and eventually the twins save the day.
Strengths: Even in the ARC, the brilliance of the book design is evident. The hardcover will be very visually appealing.
Weaknesses: I have little patience for the overly precious, intrusive Narrator, and this book certainly has a lot of the Snicketesque goofiness that I personally do not enjoy. However, it must be noted that The Bad Beginning was published in 1999, and I still have about five copies of each book in the series, many in tatters, that circulate frequently. While this sort of book is not something I can stomach, the students all seem to like them.
I sometimes chat with people while reading books. It's a rare sometimes, because most of the time I prefer to focus on my book rather than talk to people. I tend to talk when I need to think something through.
In the case of THE TEMPLETON TWINS HAVE AN IDEA, I was having issues with the narrator. Now, the narrator is very funny. Hir voice is idiosyncratic, with a strong opinion on the story, and often digressing to things like meatloaf recipes rather than the main plot. Yes, it is very much like Lemony Snicket. A Series of Unfortunate Events ended a little more than five years ago. There's room for a new story in the same vein. But there were times I found the style uncomfortably similar.
Abigail and John Templeton are fraternal twins living with their inventor father. After their mother's death, their father decides to go to work at a different university. There a man accuses their father of stealing his idea and demands credit. Dean D. Dean and his identical twin Dan D. Dean are willing to kidnap the Templeton twins in order to get what they want. But fortunately Abigail and John are experts at cryptic puzzles and the drums, respectively.
THE TEMPLETON TWINS HAVE AN IDEA is very funny and smart in a way that's accessible to younger readers. I particularly liked the quiz questions at the end of each chapter. They're silly - either easy, not a real question, or a facetious request for an essay - but I felt like they did increase my engagement with the text.
I liked Jeremy Holmes's artwork. I read an ARC so most of the illustrations were only sketches, but I liked the way they looked. Each image is stylish and dynamic. And the design of THE TEMPLETON TWINS HAVE AN IDEA extends from the illustrations to include playful borders and some special speech bubbles. It's both attractive and tempts rereading in order to find more details.
Young puzzle lovers and Lemony Snicket fans will enjoy THE TEMPLETON TWINS HAVE AN IDEA. I think there's always an audience for hilarious books about smart kids getting in and out of trouble. At least, I hope there is. And that audience will find THE TEMPLETON TWINS HAVE AN IDEA.