The Plot in Five Sentences or Less: John and Abigail are the bright, twin children of professor and inventor John Templeton. Following the death of their mother, the family moves to Tick Tock University where, during a lecture, their father is accosted by Dean D. Dean, a man claiming that John Templeton stole his idea for the Personal One-Man Helicopter (POMH). Dean D. Dean, along with his brother, Dan D. Dean, kidnap the Templeton twins and demand that John to sign over the rights to the POMH. The twins must use their smarts to escape from the Dean brothers.
My Take: This book is a clever and enjoyable read. The narrator of the story is self aware and inserts amusing parenthetical remarks in the text as if he were arguing with the reader. For instance, he states “We’re getting off point. And I blame you. Please, I urge you to stop interrupting.” He also inserts “questions for review” at the end of each chapter that are meant to resemble reader’s comprehensive questions, but are simply ridiculous (i.e. “How would the Templeton twins’ lives have been different had they never been born?”). Too much of this sort of thing would be gimmicky and annoying, but Weiner uses a judicious amount that keeps the reader laughing. Credit should be given to Home’s schematic illustrations that reinforce the rational yet ludicrous tone of the book. Highly recommended for kids ages 8+.
One Interesting Note About the Author/Illustrator: Ellis Weiner was an editor of National Lampoon and contributor to many magazines, including The New Yorker and Spy. He has also written an e-book called “Atlas Slugged Again” which you can buy for $1.99.