Tag Archives: Lemony Snickett read alike

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 media.org:

“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.



Hooray for Tom Angleberger, Origami Yoda, Darth Paper the Fortune Wookiee and now Horton Halfpott!

I love Tom Angleberger’s books, if only I had more copies of each and every one of them. The copies I have of the Origami Yoda series are in such high demand that they have never been shelved (unless you count the new book display and the hold shelf!)


Horton Halfpott or the fiendish mystery of Smugwick Manor or the Loosening of M’Lady Luggertucks’s corset by Tom Angleberger. Published by Amulet Books, 2011. Paperback edition.

From the book jacket (publisher):

There are so many exciting things in this book — a Stolen Diamond, snooping stable boys, a famous detective, love, pickle eclairs — that it really does seem a shame to begin with ladies’ underwear . . .

IT ALL STARTS WHEN M’LADY LUGGERTUCK LOOSENS her corset. As a result of “the loosening” all the strict rules around Smugwick Manor are abandoned. Shelves go undusted! Cake is eaten! Lunch is lukewarm! Then, when the precious family heirloom, the Luggertuck Lump (quite literally a lump), goes missing, the Luggertucks search for someone to blame. Could the thief really be Horton Halfpott, the good-natured but lowly kitchen boy who can’t tell a lie? Find out in this funny mystery by the author of ‘the Strange case of Origami Yoda’.

Book trailer:

What did I think of this book?

Loved it! It is so funny and it reminded me a lot of Lemony Snickett but it’s not so dark. There are plenty of quirky and eccentric characters and a slightly over the top style, that is a send up of the British aristocracy and life upstairs and downstairs (imagine David Walliams writing a kid’s version of Downton Abbey…but possibly even funnier!) The humourous scratchy pen and ink illustrations really set off the story. The writers style includes pauses to deliver a bit of “background” which will give the more reluctant reader a chance to draw breath before racing along again with plenty of twists and turns. I like the way the chapters are relatively short. This would be great as a read loud and really good for some of my more reluctant readers as long as they are prepared to tackle the language style.

This book was nominated for an Edgar award: 
The Edgar Allan Poe Awards (popularly called the Edgars), named after Edgar Allan Poe, are presented every year by the Mystery Writers of America.They remain the most prestigious awards in the entire mystery genre. Since 1961 they have presented an award in the category of Best Juvenile Mystery Fiction. (Source: Wikipedia)

Author website: www.hortonhalfpott.com

About the Origami Yoda Series – This is an awesome series for kids both boys and girls, that will hook many reluctant readers in the same way Diary of a Wimpy Kid has enthralled kids everywhere.

“Dwight is a sixth grader at McQuarrie Middle School who is considered quite weird and doesn’t really have any friends. Then one day, Dwight makes an origami finger puppet of Yoda. Eerily, Origami Yoda gives advice that always seems to work, and may even predict the future. Students at McQuarrie soon become convinced that Origami Yoda has a special connection to the Force. The Strange Case of Origami Yoda tells the tale of Dwight and his mysterious Origami Yoda through the eyes of six graders Tommy, Kellen, Mike, Sara, Cassie, Lance, Quavondo, Murky, Jennifer, Amy, Rhondella, and a seventh grader named Caroline. Origami Yoda gives advice to anyone willing to listen—everything from how to stop being a crybaby to asking a girl to dance. However, there are still some who don’t believe that Origami Yoda is for real. Tommy decides to write a case file to prove or disprove Origami Yoda’s realness. He convinces a number of students to write about their experiences with Origami Yoda, while his friend Kellen illustrates the file. However, Harvey, who has always been cruel to Dwight and is skeptical about Origami Yoda’s wisdom, just wants Dwight to admit that Origami Yoda is fake”. (Source: Wikipedia).

The strange case of Origami Yoda (2010)


Darth Paper strikes back (2011):


The  secret of the Fortune Wookiee (2012)


Coming to my library soon….

Art2-D2’s Guide to Folding and Doodling: An Origami Yoda Activity Book! 2013….