Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

The Templeton Twins Have an Idea

The Templeton Twins Have an Idea

Fall 2012 Fiction
Ages: 9 - 12 yrs.
Author: Ellis Weiner
Illustrator: Jeremy Holmes
Publisher: Chronicle Books
ISBN: 9780811866798
Hardcover Price: $16.99

The Templeton Twins Have An Idea: Book One is extremely clever. It has a saucy narrator who steps out of the story repeatedly to tease and cajole readers with mock end-of-chapter quizzes, sarcastic asides and playful wit, and even a recipe for meatloaf. For young readers who like their stories straight, this might confuse or wear thin, but for those who enjoy matching wits, it entertains.

The 12-year-old twins are engaging characters-John is practical and plays the drums and Abigail is abstract and solves puzzles. After their mother dies of an illness, they live alone with their inventor father, the nanny, and Cassie the Ridiculous Dog. The central plot involves a deranged former student of Mr. Templeton's who is convinced the professor has stolen his life work.

The plot plus all of the characters are overshadowed by the spunky narrator. The story is almost secondary, but the book is lively and amusing. There are a few potentially disturbing moments-a kidnapping, a murder, captivity in a dark basement-but they seem to blend with the book's ironic and humorous tone.

It's a fun story for a specific audience, but might not be for everyone. That said, the Templeton twins and their father are an interesting little family that should be fun to follow in future books.

Teresa DiFalco   ©2012 Parents' Choice
Teresa DiFalco is an award-winning ghostwriter, writer, and mother in Vancouver, Washington. She's been a contributing editor for Parents' Choice for over ten years. She's a strong speller, a menace at badminton, and makes a decent soufflé.

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