Saturday, October 5, 2013

Review - "The Templeton Twins Make a Scene"

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, or so they say.  If this is the case, than Lemony Snicket and Pseudonymous Bosch have a great fan in Ellis Weiner.  The formers’ style of narration had to be an influence on Weiner’s obnoxious, self-aggrandizing Narrator in his series about the Templeton Twins, the second volume of which, entitled The Templeton Twins Make a Scene is soon to be released.  Thankfully for Mr. Weiner, he does not rely totally on readers’ familiarity with peculiar narrators to keep his story afloat, and instead stuffs his book to the gills with jokes, action, twins, inventions and one ridiculous dog.

When we last saw the Templeton twins, Abigail and John, they had just thwarted nefarious twins Dean D. Dean and Dan D. Dean and their plan to steal credit for Professor Templeton’s One Man Helicoptor.  After a brief respite, during which the Templeton family moves to a new university, Professor Templeton begins work on a new invention, and the twins get a new nanny (named Manny – Manny the Nanny), the diabolical duo of Deans returns to wreak havoc on them all.

I would go into more detail, but really, you can work it out, especially if you’ve read the first installment.  Book two is more of the same.  Which is not necessarily a bad thing.  Yes, it is predictable, but so is every Nancy Drew mystery, and millions of kids still read and love those.  Mr. Weiner is aided greatly by his illustrator, Jeremy Holmes, whose clever and amusing graphics pepper the prose*.  

These books aren’t going to be for everyone.  Some of you will find the Narrator so maddening, you’ll want to tear your hair out.  Some of you are going to find him hilarious.  Different strokes.  But if you enjoy stories about crafty kids (and their dog, and their Manny) ruining the plans of ridiculous adults, you just might love The Templeton Twins.

*Final art was not seen, but based on the sketches, and Mr. Holmes’ work in the previous volume, I feel confident making this statement.

The Templeton Twins Make a Scene by Ellis Weiner, ill. by Jeremy Holmes
2013, Chronicle Books
Preview copy provided by publisher for review

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