14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
The Templeton Twins are your normal, average kids - with a professor for a father, a mother who died, a new dog...and a kidnapper. Actually, not one kidnapper, but two. And to get away, they will need their hobbies, their dog - and "an idea".
I enjoyed the book, for the most part. The story is told by a Narrator who breaks into the story on a regular basis for commentary of his/her own. It's fun, in a smart-alecky sort of way, though it can also be somewhat distracting as well. Breaking the flow of the reader, particularly younger readers, can be a risky move. Whether kids will appreciate it or not will depend on the individual reader. The Narrator did have quite the personality, and so that helped.
The chapters are fairly short - this is not War & Peace, that's for sure. Lots of diagrams and drawings, and even a recipe for meatloaf (it does tie in with the story). The story moves at a fairly fast pace, and while there is a definite resolution, it also leaves an opening for further books. I don't know that the book captured my interest enough to be anxious about any sequels, but again - depending on the individual reader, kids can be very loyal to a series that they enjoy. As a parent and a teacher, I did appreciate the language-based definitions and descriptions that were woven into the story. Any time you can help a child learn while they are enjoying a story is a bonus.
The age range for a stand-alone reader is probably from higher second grade to lower sixth grade. It's definitely not in the YA category - this is for the readers that fall between children's books and the YA section. This would also be a good read for those who have a hard time finishing longer books.
The Templeton Twins are certainly worth checking out. Being as this is the first book in what seems like a potential series, there was some ground to cover for back story, which the next book(s) wouldn't necessarily have - allowing for more of the adventure to shine through. And the Narrator tries very hard (and almost succeeds) in highjacking the story from the Twins - and since there is no information on who exactly he/she might be, curiosity might compel some kids to continue with the series. As John says in the book, "Let's do it and view it!".
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on August 30, 2012
When I was a kid, I loved mystery stories. I loved solving puzzles, figuring things out. When I was the parent of a young reader, my son loved the same kind of book.Both of us would recommend this highly, to our elementary school selves.
The characters are quirky and funny. The narrator is quirky and funny. The twins are smart, well-developed leads, who defy gender stereotypes without being preachy about it. The threat posed by the bad guys is real enough to push the plot forward, but not so scary that it distracts from the jokes.
Can't wait for the next one.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on October 2, 2012
The Templeton Twins Have an Idea is the first in a new series aimed at readers age 9 to 12 that combines mystery, wordplay, humor and adventure. Written by Ellis Weiner and illustrated by Jeremy Holmes, The Templeton Twins is told from the point of view of a narrator, a somewhat sarcastic figure who poses funny review questions at the end of each chapter.
The story follows Abigail and John Templeton, fraternal twins whose mother has recently died after a long illness. They live on a university campus with their father, who is an inventor and college professor.
When the professor moves the family to a new university where he hopes to start fresh, the story really gets going. A former student with a grudge, who happens to be a twin as well, wants credit for one of the professor's inventions. He'll go to great lengths to make sure that happens, even if that means kidnapping the twins.
Young readers will like the wordplay, the puzzles that Abigail enjoys, and the narrator's comments about both readers and characters. Illustrations play up the inventive side of things and keep readers engaged as they scour the pictures for clues about the action to come.
The publisher provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on November 20, 2012
Overall, as a book, I enjoyed reading The Templeton Twins Have an Idea: Book One. It reminded me of the Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket. The writing style was similar, and the interruptions by the narrator were alike. But, because I found the Snicket series as being fantastic reads, I had high expectations for this book. The story itself was well-written and appeals completely to a middle-school aged audience. My major criticism is the narrator's role. I enjoyed the funny intermissions provided by the narrator, but I feel that most of the story consisted of the narrator preparing the reader for what will happen next. I know that when I was at this age-range, I was able to read and infer what would happen next, without someone else telling me what will happen. Therefore, I think the narrator's participation in the story should be a bit more limited.
I loved the random bits and pieces the book had to offer though, including the humorous "Questions for Review" and the recipe for meatloaf. These pieces helped the book in it's individuality--for instance, I know that I'll remember this book in a year by remembering the recipe and the random inventions the professor created.
I am though, looking forward to the next book--this book left a reader hanging, but not in a way that the reader is upset about it's abrupt stop, but rather in the way that the reader is excited for the next book and for the new adventures that it will hold.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
This book is a fun read and very entertaing book. It reminds me alot of the Lemony Snicket "Series of Unfortunate Events" books. It has a narrator who tells the story and stops to explain everything in a joking kind of way. He explains words and why people do things. This kind of gets a little old after awhile though. Their are also a few funny questions at the end of the chapter that are just for fun like asking a multiple choice question and giving different varations of the same answer for the choices or asking you to write a 50,000 word story in French explaining what you thought about something. The story overall is pretty entertaing but does drag along a little bit after all of the stopping by the narrator to explain things.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
It is really hard for an author to write anything from a kid's point of view, in a kid's voice, with any authenticity. Two successful attempts that come to mind, the Wimpy Kid series and the Adrian Mole series, both use the device of a diary as a way around that problem. (And for younger characters it's even harder to get it right, or even to just keep everyone from sounding like Shirley Temple.)
But another approach is to employ a totally present and very much in charge narrator. Think of Lemony Snicket, or the Bosch "This Book Is Not Good for You" series. A chatty, all knowing, personable narrator allows the author to create a not-kid character and voice that he is comfortable with for story telling purposes. The author can spread himself and have fun without worrying about authenticity.
And this makes great sense, since new readers are surrounded by narrators. When Mom or Dad read to or read with their little ones, they take on the role of narrator. They explain words, help explain the story, ask questions, answer questions, and bring extra vigor to the reading experience. At school and the library, teachers and librarians at story time don't just dryly read a book, they sell the book and emphasize things and keep an eye out to make sure everyone is following the action. If they're lucky, young new readers get used to having a lot of narrative help.
So I guess it's not surprising that so many popular kid books have a narrator as a central character. The question, then, is how appealing, entertaining and, perhaps, tolerable is this particular narrator? Do you like Lemony Snicket;or the Bosch books? To my mind, the narrator in this book is remarkably engaging. He is presented as fussy, a little superior and anti-social, and a bit of an exasperated know-it-all, but with enough good humor and a comfortable enough personality that he would probably be appreciated by your child reader. The Templeton Twins are engaging, interesting, resourceful and good-hearted heroes for the book, the plot is fine, the action is zippy and attention holding - but it only works if you respond well to the unseen guy behind the curtain who's telling the story.
Which is why I suggest that even if you don't usually do so, you use the "Click To Look Inside" feature here on the Amazon site. The sample is generous and it will give you a fair sense of how this book is structured, and what the narrator is like. If the sample makes your teeth hurt, well that's a bad sign. If the sample leads you to conclude that this could be fun, funny and entertaining, (as it did for me before I decided to get the book), well then have at it.
Please note that I found this book while browsing Amazon Kindle goodies. I have no connection at all to either the author or the publisher of this book.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
The Templeton Twins Have An Idea
My "in a nutshell" summary...
This is the story of a very unique and very clever family and their adventures!
My thoughts after reading this cleverly written book...
I loved this book. Abigail and John and their father are delightful characters and in addition to being delightful they are adventurous and quirky and fun! The short very funny chapters and the questions from the narrator and the narrator's fascinating comments that are mostly about himself are fun...so much fun!
Abigail and John and their father are just sort of learning how to live their lives again after the death of their mom. They get Cassie the dog, they cook pasta and salads for dinner, Abigail solves her cryptics and John plays his drums. Suddenly their father moves them to a new town, they get a nanny...Nanny Nan...they meet the Dean brothers, their father is accused of stealing...and an amazing adventure begins! And all of it involves a personal helicopter in a knapsack...who knew?
What I loved about this book...
OMG..the very clever and fascinating narrator and his questions at the end of each chapter...it was almost as though there were two stories in this book. I can't imagine kids not getting excited about the questions and puzzles and figuring out the answers.
Plus there is the added bonus of the narrator's meatloaf recipe...yum!
What I did not love...
Well, of course I am going to be predictable and say that I did not love the Dean boys...nor did I like the Nanny! And...every now and again the dog got on my nerves...lol...sorry!
As an educator...I think kids will love this book and wait excitedly for the narrator to come up with the next one!
It's a great read aloud or read alone...fun either way!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on December 29, 2012
The story line was ok. The author got on my nerves too much to appreciate the story. Maybe the targeted age group wouldn't mind?
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on February 5, 2013
This is the best book ever. It is very suspenseful. This is a book all readers should read. You should read it.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on April 2, 2013
I really wanted to like this book, but just couldn't. It has very little plot, protagonists without personality, and lots and lots AND LOTS of shtick with narrative voice. Think Lemony Snicket, only not the bright, fresh, cutting Lemony Snicket of the first book, but the tired, bored, self-indulgent Lemony Snicket of the later books. And instead of "this tale is terrifying so I don't want to tell it to you," the shtick is "I am distracted and anti-social and I have attention deficit disorder, so I can barely be bothered to talk to you at all." And there's very little in the way of plot or character, so the shtick swells to fill most of the book. Ack. I'll give it two stars for some fun stuff about crossword puzzles, but I won't be reading the sequel.