The Templeton Twins Have An Idea

The Templeton Twins Have an Idea by Ellis Wiener
(recieved advanced readers copy from publisher at BEA 2012)

John and Abigail Templeton are twelve-year-old twins. And they enjoy things that most other twelve-year-olds enjoy : playing with their ridiculous dog Cassie, admiring the work of their inventor father, playing the drums, and poring over cryptic crossword puzzles of course. Beyond that, they enjoy their lives, no matter how uneventful life may be.

But when their father announces that he is moving them to a new city so he can take a new job at a big University, their lives go from uneventful to more than eventful. What starts out as a celebration of their father’s latest invention – a one many flying machine that tucks conveniently and neatly into a backpack – turns into a nightmare.

At the unveiling the genius inventor known as Mr. Templeton is confronted by Dean D. Dean – a former student and all around bad guy. Accusing Mr. Templeton of stealing his idea, Dean D. Dean sets out to take back what is rightfully is. Dean D. Dean wants more than what is rightfully his. But more than that, he wants to make Mr. Templeton fork over the blueprints for the one man flying machine.

And the only way to make Mr. Templeton hand over the blueprints willingly, is to take something even more precious than his invention: his children.

Held captive within the evil clutches of Dean D. Dean (and his twin brother!) the Templeton Twins must think up a way, to not only save the one man flying machine, but themselves.

Will John and Abigail be quick witted enough to outsmart the Dean twins?

The Templeton Twins Have An Idea written by author Ellis Wiener is a character driven kind of book, that the middle grade set will love.

Going into The Templeton Twins Have an Idea, I really liked the premesis of the plot: two inventive and ingenious twelve years olds set out to, not only save a highly regarded invention, but to ultimately save themselves and their father. However, upon finishing this book I quickly realized that even though I enjoyed the plot, I did not enjoy the execution.

Wiener’s style of writing just wasn’t my cup of tea. I enjoyed that the book had a very open, conversational tone to it. But what I didn’t enjoy was that that tone often felt forced. There were many monents within the book that the “narrator” asks the readers to think or do something completely unrelated to the plot. These tangets, though brief, I found to make a very choppy story.

With that said, Wiener’s writing – when focusing solely on the plot at hand – is strong. And beyond that, it’s engaging.

What really makes this book such a fun read are the two leading characters – Abigail and John Templeton. They are charismatic characters that young readers will identify easily with, and characters that (us) older readers will see bits and pieces of our youth in.

Wiener’s The Templeton Twins Have An Idea is a great middle grade read. It’s full of over the top situations and a pair of really smart kids. While this title didn’t do much for me, I firmly believe young readers will laugh out loud, will root whole-heartedly for our small heroes to come out on top, and will even fall in love with the adorable, yet ridiculous dog, Cassie.


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