Another quirky book… “The Templeton Twins have an idea” by Ellis Weiner


The Templeton Twins have an idea by Ellis Weiner. Published by Chronicle Books, 2012. Hardcover, 232 pages.

From the publisher:

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? ).

From commonsense

“Snarky, sarcastic, attention-hogging narrators are something of a stock in trade for humor writer Ellis Weiner (How to Raise a Jewish Dog, Yiddish for Dick and Jane), so if you’re looking for a story with actual character development and substantive plot, this isn’t the book for you. But if you’re prepared for the fact that the Templeton Twins are completely eclipsed by a wisecracking, whining, self-aggrandizing storyteller who doles out bits of the plot with hefty doses of wordplay, snide remarks, comic “quizzes” at the end of each chapter, a recipe for meat loaf, and helpful lectures on subjects from crossword puzzles to hot-wiring cars, The Templeton Twins Have an Idea: Book 1 is an irresistible series start…Humorous graphic elements on most pages and lots of intricate drawings by award-winning illustrator Jeremy Holmes… add to the fun.”

Book trailer (You really need to view this to get an idea of the snarky, quirky narration!):


“That’s why, when I wrote about how the Twins, in Book I, devise a gimmick to place before their father a photo of the kind of dog they want, I had to ask myself, “Is it plausible to think that there would be a single overhead lighting fixture in the kitchen?”  I decided it was, because they lived in an old house, and it seemed to me I had been in older kitchens with exactly that kind of (dreary, depressing) overhead lamp.

This sort of concern can, of course, be a pain in the neck. The reader (who is, say, eleven years old) doesn’t care about the history of small-town kitchen illumination.  Neither, for that matter, does the writer.  (The Narrator may say he does, but you know how he is.  He’ll say anything to irritate me.)  But by playing fair with the details, you achieve at least three things: You force yourself to more fully imagine the scene, which helps make the writing better.  You assist the reader in seeing the scene, which helps make the reading better.  And you open yourself up to thinking about things, which otherwise would never have occurred to you, that might change and therefore improve the scene.” Source: Extract from a blog post by the author.

Read a chapter excerpt here

What did I think of this book?

I loved it…this is another story similar to Lemony Snickett’s A series of unfortunate events, Tom Angleberger’s Horton Halfpott and A.F. Harrold’s Fizzlebert Stump …where the narrator almost steals the show. Kids will love this as it feels as if the narrator is speaking directly to the reader and will laugh out loud at the nonsensical nature of the narration.  This would make a great read aloud between a parent or caregiver with a child as seeing the illustrations close-up is essential to enjoying this wonderful book.



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