School Library Journal
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Gr 5-7-John and Abigail, 12, want a dog and know just how to approach their professor-inventor father: build an ingenious gadget to get his attention. which is a challenge, since Dad has been a bit distracted since their mother's recent death. Their device works, and the family's life improves dramatically with the addition of a "ridiculous" dog. Then one of Mr. Templeton's former students, Dean D. Dean, claims that the professor stole one of his inventions. He kidnaps John and Abigail in retaliation, but, being more of a buffoon than a villain, he's no match for the twins' resourcefulness and their father's stalwart integrity. Dean's escape sets the stage for book two. Weiner surprises and engages readers; the siblings' escape from their kidnapper is drawn as a flow chart, and Abigail's cryptic crossword hobby will interest puzzle fans. Comparisons to Lemony Snicket's "A Series of Unfortunate Events" (HarperCollins) are inevitable, but this story feels fresh with a loving family of clever yet appealingly normal characters at its heart. Its narrator, like Snicket's, interrupts with definitions and additional information. However, Weiner's vain and snarky narrator is an important character, asking humorous review questions at the end of each chapter ("Can you spell moustache?") and regularly dissing readers ("Don't embarrass yourself."). An entertaining start to a new series.-M. Kozikowski, Sachem Public Library, Holbrook, NY (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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This series kickoff takes a while to get going, and not just because it has three prologues and two Chapter Twos. Although 12-year-old twins Abigail and John Templeton headline the story, the most prominent character is the self-satisfied and aggressively intrusive Narrator, whose banter with readers instantly sets a comedic, sarcastic tone ("If you are so terribly, terribly smart, why don't you write this book? Just fill it in right here") but also contributes to a slow start. The story, which revolves around (of all things) intellectual property and picks up a third of the way in, follows the twins and their widowed inventor/professor father as he starts a job at the Tickeridge-Baltock Institute of Technology (aka Tick-Tock Tech) and has a run-in with a disgruntled former student. Weiner has an obvious fondness for wordplay (characters include Nanny Nan Noonan and the villainous Dean D. Dean), and he's at his funniest with the nonsensical "Questions for Review" that end each chapter ("How would the Templeton twins' lives have been different had they never been born?"). Final art not seen by PW. Ages 9-13. Agent: Paul Bresnick, Paul Bresnick Agency. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.
Following several false starts, a reluctant but self-congratulatory narrator introduces 12-year-old twins Abigail and John Templeton. Shortly after their recently widowed father, Elton, takes up a new teaching position at the Tickeridge-Baltock Institute of Technology (aka Tick-Tock Tech), they are kidnapped by Dean D. and Dan D. Dean grownup twins bent on stealing the credit and profits from Professor Templeton's newly invented Personal One-Man Helicopter. Weiner tucks in less-than-challenging Questions for Review (e.g., What were the names of Abigail and John, the Templeton twins? ), elementary crossword puzzles, and a credible meatloaf recipe, while Holmes' pictures add to the general air of silliness with frequent views of angular, large-headed figures and bizarre inventions. Being clever sorts, the Templetons soon escape and turn the tables on the Deans, who themselves decamp to leave the narrator burdened with the task of relating further contretemps in Templeton Twins sequels. Readers fond of madcap adventures and enjoy an affected tone to their storytelling will welcome this and the duo's future exploits.--Peters, John Copyright 2010 Booklist