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The Templeton Twins Have an Idea: Book One

The Templeton Twins Have an Idea: Book One

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The Templeton Twins Have an Idea: Book One

4/5 (21 valutazioni)
199 pagine
2 ore
Aug 3, 2012


This special edition of The Templeton Twins Have an Idea: Book One also includes a sneak preview of The Templeton Twins Make a Scene: Book Two and a Q&A with the author.

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?!).
Aug 3, 2012

Informazioni sull'autore

Ellis Weiner is the author of The Joy of Worry, Drop Dead, My Lovely, The Big Boat to Bye-Bye, and Santa Lives!  Five Conclusive Arguments for the Existence of Santa Claus.

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The Templeton Twins Have an Idea - Ellis Weiner



The End.


Did you enjoy the Prologue?

Do you think it makes the slightest bit of difference to me whether you did or not?



The Templeton twins, Abigail and John, were blah blah blah, et cetera, and so forth.

Yes, I admit, the above sentence isn’t very good. Well, too bad.

You will have to bear with me, Reader. I have never done this sort of thing before—written books, told stories to complete strangers who, frankly, I may not particularly like. Yes, I am referring to you. Would I like you if I met you? I’m not so sure I would.

Of course, you can say, "Well, maybe I wouldn’t like you if I met you, Narrator." While that isn’t likely, it is indeed a possibility. And yet when I contemplate such an occasion, I cannot help but ask myself, Do I want the Reader to like me? Do I care?

I think we can all agree that I don’t care. Believe me, I am not writing these words because I want to. I am writing them because I am compelled to. That is why I wrote The End in the Prologue. I had hoped you would read that and be fooled into thinking you had read an entire book, which I would then not actually have to write.

I had hoped you would look up and say to your parent or guardian or sibling or bodyguard, My, that was a short book. I’m not sure anything actually happened in it, but it says, ‘The End,’ so something must have.

However, I can see by the fact that you are reading this now that I was wrong. I was unable to fool you. You must be smarter than I thought. Very well. If you are so terribly, terribly smart, why don’t you write this book? Just fill it in right here:

I see you have failed to fill it in. It’s not as easy as it looks, is it? Fine. LET’S MOVE ON.


you may be thinking. ‘Earlier’ than what? Nothing has happened yet, so how can anything be ‘earlier’ than nothing?

In reply, I can say only that it seemed like a good idea to write, One day, twelve years earlier, but now I am having Second Thoughts. I shall try writing the Prologue again.

But wait. First, let us all agree on what a Prologue is. A Prologue is the part of the story that happens before the events of the main story itself. (Pro- means before, and -logue means . . . whatever it means. Look it up. Why do I have to do everything?) The purpose of the Prologue is to establish something important that will have consequences later.

There. We all agree on what a Prologue is. That is, I have told you what it is, and you agree with me. Now, at last, finally, here, is the actual Prologue.



One day, twelve years earlier, Professor Elton Templeton was in his office at Elysian University, talking with a student. Normally the Professor enjoyed meeting with students in his office, but today he was distracted by the fact that his wife was about to give birth to their first baby.

However, he had been told that the baby would not be ready to be born for some time, so he had decided to conduct his usual office hours. He had met with all the students who wished to speak with him except this one.

This young man, who was quite good-looking, had come to the Professor’s office to protest the grade the Professor had given him in a course entitled Introduction to Systems Dynamics. Do you know what that means? Of course you don’t. And yet I do.

Fortunately for both you and me, what it means is irrelevant to our story. For now, just bear in mind that the Professor was a renowned engineer and inventor, and so he taught courses in things like systems and dynamics.

The grade the Professor had given this student was an F, which is the worst grade you can possibly get. The Professor had never given anyone an F before (and, in case you are interested, he never would again). He didn’t like giving anyone an F, and he didn’t like arguing over grades. He was uncomfortable with the entire discussion.

But, as he explained, the good-looking student had left him no choice.

Look here, the Professor said. You left me no choice. You cheated on all your exams.

This made the student even more upset. But I came to all your lectures!

Yes, but you slept through them, the Professor said. And you handed in reports that were proven to have been written by someone else.

The door to the Professor’s office opened. Standing there was the secretary of the engineering department. She was very excited.

Professor! she said breathlessly. The hospital called. The babies are coming!

Oh, my goodness, the Professor said. As he got up from his desk, he said to the young man, Now you will have to excuse me; the babies are coming. . . .

But we’re not finished! the young man said. You have to give me at least a C or I’ll flunk out of college!

I cannot give you a C, the Professor said, hastily stuffing papers into his briefcase and grabbing his hat.

You can’t go! the young man said. You have to listen to me!

Our meeting is concluded, the Professor said. The babies are coming, and I must be at the hospital.

The Professor was about to hurry out of the building when something occurred to him. He stopped at the secretary’s desk.

he asked.

She had. As Professor Elton Templeton discovered upon arriving at the hospital, his wife had had two babies, which, as you may know, is twice as many as one. Somehow, when the doctors had given Professor Templeton’s wife her checkups, they had not seen that there were two babies, one boy and one girl.

Professor Templeton was amazed and delighted by this news. After visiting his wife to make sure she was all right (she was), he went to the nursery, which is a special room in the hospital where newly born babies sleep during the time they are not with their mothers.

The Professor found a spot among the other adults looking through the big glass window at the various sleeping babies. Each one slept in a little shallow bed hung with a card showing the mother’s last name. A long card reading TEMPLETON stretched across two beds in which two babies slept side by side. One wore a blue cap and the other wore a pink cap.

(As you may be aware, when it comes to babies it is not obvious who is a boy and who is a girl. For this reason, some people make sure that boy babies wear blue clothes and girl babies wear pink clothes, to signal who is what. If the color-coded clothes make the babies look fabulous, all the better.)

The Professor did what all new parents do: He tapped on the window and made silly little cooing noises in an effort to get the attention of his just-born, deeply sleeping babies. The Professor was wearing his customary clothes, which included a pair of baggy white pants and a billowy white shirt. He looked as though he worked for the hospital. Maybe that was why, when a man standing next to him saw the Professor tapping on the window, he became curious and asked, Who are they?

They? the Professor replied.


The author has succeeded in writing an actual Prologue. Aren’t you proud of him?

What do you mean, no?

Explain, in fifty words or less, why you believe the story will actually get started, and why it will be wonderful.


The Templeton twins, Abigail and John, were twelve years old when their mother died. The woman had been quite ill for some time, and her death was not unexpected. Still, it was a very sad event for the twins, and for their father, Professor Elton Templeton.



What were the names of Abigail and John, the Templeton twins?

Bonus Question: There is no Bonus Question. Proceed to Question 3.

Isn’t it a splendid thing that we have begun? (Hint: No. It isn’t. It means I must write some more. LET’S MOVE ON.)


The Templeton twins’ mother, as we have discussed as recently as one page ago , died when the twins were twelve years old.

Now, if I were you, I would not want to read about how sad the twins and their father were. In fact, if I were me—which, I can assure you, I am—I would not want to read about it, either. And I certainly would not want to have to write about it.

But I am going to write about it. Why? Because, as I believe I have already explained, I have to. I am being forced to tell the story of the Templeton twins. Why am I being forced, and who is forcing me? Well, perhaps I will tell you later. Or I may decide not to tell you at all. For now, that doesn’t matter.

What matters is that I’m telling you their story, and the only proper way to tell the story of the Templeton twins is to talk about their hobbies and, a little later, their dog. Their hobbies, as you will see, will turn out to be very important to what the twins did and why they did it. And their dog, as will be plain to every eye, was

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Recensioni dei lettori

  • (3/5)
    It's fun and anoyying at the same time because of its narrating style. The adventure of the twins quite challenging. Thanks for the story
  • (5/5)
    You know that feeling you get when you read a book and love it so much you want to tell everyone about it so you do and they keep telling you to shut up? No? Then read this book and you will know exactly what I am talking about.Some of the things I loved are as follows:Vocabulary- Abby uses words that most would agree are above her grade level. But the author makes it work by explaining to the reader what it means or instructing them to use a dictionary. (I think I love this so much because I was this child. My dad and I used to out-smart each other with 'dead' words like "surreptitious" or "solipsistic". I had to start dumbing down my vocab in high school because my peers and teachers didn't care for it...)Chapter Reviews-I won't spoil these. Read the book and laugh at them yourself.Inventions-I kind of wish all of the inventions mentioned were real. I could most definitely use self tensioning bookends.Cryptic crosswords-I never knew these even existed, but now I know how to do them and I am addicted!Basically, it was a great read and the narrator was hilariously sarcastic (which I love). So go buy a copy for yourself and enjoy!
  • (4/5)

    Fans of Lemony Snickett's Series of Unfortunate Events will enjoy this new series featuring 12-year-old twins Abigail and John, their absent-minded professor father, and an extremely snarky narrator. Humorous and thought-provoking.
  • (4/5)
    Highly recommended if you are looking for a fluff, quirky, just plain fun read. There is a bit of mystery, an over-the-top narrator and the boy/girl combo in the twins to make this appealing to everyone. A bit of graphics here and there and some pointed questions to you the reader gives appeal to the graphic novel/Wimpy Kid fans. Eagerly awaiting the next in the series.
  • (4/5)
    A quick read and one sure to be enjoyed by its target audience, The Templeton Twins Have An Idea is a fun-filled, goofy and cheeky adventure where children ultimately get to save the day and themselves. John and Abigail are dynamic middle-grade protagonists: feisty, smart and capable. With an involved and fourth-wall-breaking narrator, their Ridiculous Dog and their own wits, the two twins partake in an escapade that gives the reader ample opportunities to laugh, solve puzzles or even jot down a new recipe for meatloaf. The first in a forthcoming series, this breezy lighthearted children's romp is inventive, interactive and an original ride.A silly tone from the outset gets things going and author Ellis Weiner clearly used his imagination to make this as engaging for younger children as it could be. A little bit of wit, a little bit of snark and a lot of character help to make The Templeton Twins one novel not to be missed for those looking for a slightly interactive and fully original novel for their kids to enjoy. The tongue-in-cheek tone allows for amusement across the board as a 20-something reader I wasn't above the good-cheer influence of this cheeky and fun novel. Illustrator Jeremy Holmes art (and sketches for the ARC) catch the mood of the middle-grade novel perfectly: a little odd, very distinct and wholly eye-catching, his work definitely adds an extra element of personality to The Templeton Twins Have An Idea.Simple and easy, this is the perfect fit for its genre. A little bit of mystery and childish ingenuity can go far as the author/illustrator pair behind this can attest. Antagonists Dean D. Dean and Dan D. Dean provide humorous and likely foils for the intrepid Templeton kids and the engaging read is worth it from start to completion.
  • (3/5)
    A funny, fast-paced read with likeable twin main characters and a Lemony Snicket-style narrator. Mystery, puzzles, adventures and out-smarting the bad guys make this an enjoyable start to a new series. Kids will eagerly await the future adventures of Abby and John.
  • (5/5)
    I loved this book and I think my students will love it as much as I did. In an age where we test our students to death, any book that throws jabs at testing is going to be loved. The narrator in this story reminded me of the narrator in "A Series of Unfortunate Events", one of my favorite series. John and Abigail are the children of an inventor. Their mother is dead. They are kidnapped by another set of twins. The "evil twins", Dean and Dan want an invention their father have created. They got the bright idea of getting their hands on it by kidnapping Abigail and John. They didn't really know what they were getting themselves into by kidnapping these two kids. You'll have to read the book to see what I mean. The book also contains questions "for review" at the end of each chapter. They contain clues to help you as well as letting you KNOW how great the narrator is. This seems to be a recurring theme throughout the book. I have to say he was my favorite character. This is a terrific middle grad book and one I can't wait to put on my shelves at school.
  • (2/5)
    The Templeton Twins Have an Idea is presented by a hilariously snarky narrator. For adults, this biting wit can be a bit too much at times, almost taking away from the story. This overseer got in the way of the story and prevented the characters from having any depth. Children, however, will love the commentary and side notes that accompany this silly and simple story.
  • (3/5)
    This was a delightful book, in the vein of Lemony Snicket's Series of Unfortunate Events. While I was quite pleased by many of the narrative side-comments (particularly the recipe for meatloaf and the discussion of why the Swiss Army needs a knife with an Allen wrench attachment), the narrative voice does dominate, and the story about the Templeton Twins seems to be a vehicle for the Narrator, rather than the central purpose of the book.
  • (4/5)
    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.
  • (3/5)
    The Templeton twins are kidnapped in a vendetta involving their inventor father and a failing grade. The story is told by a narrator who spends an exceptional amount of time inserting belabored humor into the writing. The style is somewhat Lemony Snicket, or like Jonathan Stroud's Bartimaeus, only it distracts from the story rather than enhancing it.The illustrations of the many inventions and characters in the book are enjoyable. I asked my 10 year old son to read the book and he found the humor more engaging than I did. We both thought the quizzes at the end of each chapter were quite well done. The author also uses a strong vocabulary.The story really picks up about 1/3 of the way in so stick with it. This is probably best for a Grade 4 or 5 reader.
  • (4/5)
    In the Templeton Twins Have an Idea, the reader is introduced to two resourceful half-orphans named John and Abigail Templeton. After the recent demise of their mother, their absent-minded inventor of a father relocates them from their current home near Elyssian University to the clockwork school of Tick-Tock Tech, they encounter what is best described as a sour grape named Dean D. Dean, who insists that their father stole one of his inventions, and will stop at nothing to make things right in his own skewed world view.Ellis Weiner, adopting a personae of The Narrator, presents a story that is as amusing to read as I imagine it was for him to write. The Narrator is completely sarcastic and completely full of himself, and ensures that the reader is constantly aware of this as he tells this, the first promised tale of the Templeton Twins. He even makes this clear through the end-of-chapter review questions, most of which not being questions at all, but rather condescending statements followed by question marks.It’s obvious, the influence such fiction as Lemony Snicket had on this book. Fortunately, the influence is only a light flavor, and not a substantial aspect of the work as a whole. While Snicket is a coward and placating, The Narrator showboats and condescends. There is enough unique stuff in this book to set it apart from its clear inspiration. Aside from the voice, there are rampant illustrations that, at times, seem to double as schematics, giving the whole book the feeling of a blueprint (complete with blue ink used throughout).If you go into this book expecting a pleasant Snicket alternative, you may be disappointed; however, if, like with other Snicket-inspired works, you approach them without those expectations, you may find that you’ll be pleasantly surprised, at least long enough for the next Snicket book to be released.
  • (4/5)
    Fraternal twins John and Abigail Templeton are in for an adventure when their father, Professor Elton Templeton, takes a new position at the Tickeridge-Baltock Institute of Technology, otherwise known as Tick-Tock Tech. Before the Templetons and their ridiculous dog, Cassie, even have a chance to settle in, things get interesting when an incredibly handsome former student, Dean D. Dean, accuses the Professor of stealing an idea.Now the Professor is known far and wide for his inventions, so no one believes Dean D. Dean's claim. In order to force the Professor to admit that he stole the idea to put the Personal One-Man Helicopter (POMH) in a knapsack, Dean and his twin brother Dan D. Dean kidnap the twins and their ridiculous dog. However, the Dean twins may have underestimated the Templeton twins. You see, each Templeton twin is very clever in their own way. However, John and Abigail must find a way to work together to outwit the evil Dean twins and save their father before he signs over all ownership of the POMH to Dean D. Dean. Unfortunately, with time running out, it doesn't look good for the twins, their father, or their ridiculous dog.The Bottom Line: After a slow start, "The Templeton Twins Have an Idea" really took off. This book is a little different from others due to the narrator who injects himself into the story quite often. At times the narrator is a bit too snarky and "talked" to the reader just a tad too much. However, the narrator does play a role in explaining things along the way. The narrator also provides Questions for Review at the end of each chapter; these "questions" were hilarious and fun.Overall, I enjoyed reading the first book of this new adventure series. The author's emphasis on family, teamwork, and following through with ideas make this a worthwhile read. Additionally, Jeremy Holmes' illustrations were spot-on and fun to look at. This is a nicely packaged product that is humorous and fun to read. Kids in middle school will enjoy the snarky commentary. Recommended for boys and girls looking for a quirky new series to follow.
  • (4/5)
    This book was precisely what I was hoping "A Series of Unfortunate Events could have been." There is less of a sense of overwhelming despair throughout. The cleverness of the children is grounded closer to real-world physics that cartoon physics, and as a result their plans are much more satisfying when they pay off. The villains managed to be threatening and non-threatening at the same time, if that makes sense. The threat they posed was real, yet I never had any real fear for the protagonists, which makes this a good choice for younger readers.I was impressed at how mature some of the themes were. One such theme was the difference between having an idea and doing something with it, a concept that many adults cannot seem to grasp.The narrator was a character in his own right, and his pompous antics gave the story a great texture. He spent a little too long at the beginning before the story got started, but the humor in those passages was such that kids would likely enjoy it.This is a book that I would be happy to give to my kids to read, and one that will sit proudly on my bookshelves until they do.
  • (4/5)
    If you like books about clever children who foil villains, books with narrators who have quite distinct personalities of their own, and recipes for meatloaf, you'll enjoy The Templeton Twins Have an Idea, the first book in a promised series of stories about the Templeton family (twins Abigail and John, 12, inventor father Elton, and ridiculous dog Cassie).The book is quite suitable for the middle grade reader, one who already has some confidence in reading. The narrator often addresses the reader with (rhetorical) questions or to comment on the plot, which invites the reader to think critically about the story-telling techniques. The narrator also introduces new vocabulary and concepts and explains them, and in the sort of obvious and over the top way that makes it funny for both those who are already familiar with the words and those who haven't encountered them before.As an adult reader, I really enjoyed the book. It was funny and fun, and I liked trying to figure out what would happen next based on clues the narrator leaves. The book is printed to resemble a blueprint in many places, which I thought was really cool - plus, the dark blue text was easy on the eyes! Some pages are white while others have the blue tinge of carbon copies, and some are outright blue with white text and illustrations. In fact, there are a lot of illustrations throughout the book - even inside the text itself (such as portions of dialogue being written in white on blue speech bubbles, or onomotapoeia being drawn out in a suitable style). I feel like the illustrations not only add to the whimsy of the book, but make it friendlier for the younger readers.That the narrator talks directly to the reader and can be a bit arrogant and sarcastic might not be appealing to everyone, or could be confusing to some. But I thought it was funny and made an otherwise fairly standard story much more interesting. I'd say that the book is in the same family as the Series of Unfortunate Events, but softer and for younger readers. I'd also liken it to The Stinky Cheese-Man, and Other Fairly Stupid Tales, but in chapter-book form instead of picture-book form.I have a 7-year-old nephew that I will pass my ARC to. He's not a very strong reader, as English is his second language, but he loves to read and really enjoys books like The Templeton Twins Have an Idea. I think he'll really like it, though he may need help with some words. It would be the perfect book for him to read with his parents at bed-time, though.
  • (3/5)
    This book was hard to get through. I'm normally a fan of asides from a narrator, but in this book things got out of hand. The narration became really tedious—it seemed like the narrator was trying to fill as much space as possible with useless chatter and long, unnecessary explanations of perfectly understandable events. I kept rolling my eyes and murmuring, "show, don't tell!"The pictures were really great, though.
  • (5/5)
    This is probably the only book I've read that has a recipe for meatloaf, three prologues, and humorous questions for review at the end of each chapter.John and Abigail Templeton live with their father. He's the inventor of the battery powered toothpick and the personal one-man helicopter, among others. A former student who claims Professor Templeton stole one of his ideas kidnaps the twins in a scheme to get full credit. They then have to use their cleverness to foil the plot and save their family.This is a humorous story written in a style similiar to the Lemony Snicket books. The narrator talks directly to the reader and claims to be telling the story against their will. There are a lot of illustrations scattered throughout the book.
  • (3/5)
    This was a cute and clever quick little read. I'd place this somewhere between A Series of Unfortunate Events (which I certainly liked) and The Name of this Book is Secret by Pseudonymous Bosch (which I distinctly did not). It's not surprising then that this book fell somewhere in between as far as my enjoying it. One thing that this book has going for it, above and beyond its story is the actual look of the book. Everything in the book is printed in a blue tone, almost giving the book the feeling of blueprints, which is apropos given the Twins' father is an inventor of some renown and the Twins like to pride themselves of coming up with ideas of their own.When their father is accused of stealing an idea that is used in his latest invention, the Twins find themselves in some very precarious predicaments (hence the Unfortunate Events vibe) and then they go on an adventure to try to prove their father's innocence (where Pseudonymous Bosch vibe comes from). Needless to say, precarious predicaments that the Twins find themselves in are wildly unbelievable and the adventures are fun, but for me at least, the book just lacked a certain something. Of course, there's also the fact that I'm not the target age for this particular book, but I do think my younger self would have loved this book. The adult me can appreciate the work that is put into the overall packaging though, since the book is quite nicely presented. Let your younger ones have a go at this, as I think it will appeal to them immensely.
  • (4/5)
    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.