The Templeton Twins Have an Idea, by Ellis Weiner


I don’t know what I like best about this book—the cover, the antagonistic narrator, or the word puzzles. Or maybe it’s the meatloaf recipe. Or the end-of-chapter quizzes, with questions like:

1. Mary has five oranges. She gives two to Tom. Tom buys twice as many as Mary has left and gives half of them to her. Who cares?

2. Why are some dogs ridiculous, whereas other dogs are utterly ridiculous?

3. Have you ever walked around the block? Would you like to do so now? The rest of us will wait here until you return. Or will we?

It’s a fun book, visually and textually. The Templeton twins are clever kids with an inventor father, so obviously some Caractacus Potts-style inventions come into play. And speaking of ridiculous dogs, the way the narrator talks about Cassie the Ridiculous Dog is my other favorite thing about this book. He calls her that as though it’s her official name; toward the middle he starts abbreviating it to Cassie the R. Dog, and by the end it’s C. the R.D., which just makes me laugh. Kids should find the book funny, and although the sarcastic narrator is a bit heavy-handed at times, it’s pretty fun for adults to read, too.

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