Author: Ellis Weiner
Publication: Chronicle Books (August 15, 2012)
Description: 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?!).
My Thoughts: Middle graders who are fans of Vordak the Incomprehensible and books of that ilk will really enjoy this story. The broad humor will appeal to them. The very conceited narrator who is constantly "educating" the reader with snarky asides provides much of the humor in this story.
John and Abigail Templeton are 12-year-old twins. There mother has just died and their father who is a university professor and inventor has become very sad and reclusive. It isn't until the kids convince their dad that they need a dog that he begins to come around. Walking Cassie the fox terrier gets him out of the house and ready for a change.
Professor Templeton is invited to work at Tickeridge-Baltock Institute of Technology - better known as Tick-Tock Tech - and work on his inventions there. Once there he comes into contact with the villainous Dean D. Dean who was the only student he ever failed and who is convinced that he is the real inventor of the Personal One-Man Helicopter.
Dean D. Dean and his identical twin brother Dan D. Dean kidnap John and Abigail in order to convince Professor Templeton to sign over all rights to the invention to him. fortunately our young hero and heroine use their skills at cryptic crosswords (Abigail) and playing the drums (John) in order to defeat these nefarious villains.
All of the characters are over-the-top personalities from the handsome but evil Dean brothers to the kids' new nanny Nanny Nan Noonan who is convinced that whenever the kids are quiet it is only because they are trying to get away with something. The narrator of the story is especially over-the-top.
The way the book is designed also adds to the humor. My ARC didn't have the finished drawings but the sketches already added to the fun. The chapter titles and the Questions for Review at the end of each chapter just extended the humor.
I can see my middle school students really enjoying both the humor and the adventure in this story.
The fox terrier lives in a constant state of unbelievable and unnecessary excitement. It runs and spins and wags its little tail like a metronome that has lost its mind. When you bring out the leash to take it for a walk and you tell it to "Sit!," it proceeds to leap straight up into the air, like a dolphin in a SeaWorld show, over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over until you finally give up and say, "Oh, for goodness' sake," and you just hold it down and clip on its leash. You may do this four thousand times over the course of five years and it will never, ever sit.I got this one from Amazon Vine in exchange for an honest review. You can buy a copy here.