Skip to main content

The Terrible Two by Mac Barnett and Jory John, illustrated by Kevin Cornell, 224 pp, RL 4



The Terrible Two is the first book in new series created by authors with serious pedigrees in kid's books and humor, Mac Barnett and Jory John and perfectly, illustrated by self-proclaimed "mediocre illustrator and humorist," Kevin Cornell. As a parent, bookseller, composer of personalized book lists and librarian, I get asked for funny books all the time. Unfortunately, writing (good) funny kids books is almost as hard as writing a really great mystery book for kids. Jeff Kinney's Diary of a Wimpy Kid books have dominated this small genre of comedic kid's books (as well as the bulk of the kid's book market in general) and given kids a craving for more. A lot of authors have had a good ride on Kinney's coattails and, even better, Kinney's rising tide has floated some really great writer's boats, specifically the spectacular Tom Angleberger, and now Barnett and John, who were inspired by two childhood favorites of mine - John D. Fitzgerald's Great Brain series and the Steve Martin, Michael Caine movie remake, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.

Miles Murphy ar is new in town and very unhappy about his move to Yawnee Valley, a town that boasts a cow population that, if placed in a stack, would "extend to the moon and back." The one thing Miles has to console himself with is the knowledge that he was the reigning prankster at his old school and, no doubt, will be soon become known as the prankster at Yawnee Valley Science and Letters Academy. Armed with his unassuming composition book filled with his best pranks, he heads off to the first day of school. Before he even sets foot in the door, he is faced with a prank - Principal Barkin's economy car is wedged perfectly at the top of the steps, forcing students to crawl through the front seat to get in the building. And, once he is inside, Miles is confronted with the seemingly supercilious Niles Sparks, self-appointed safety patrol and School Helper, and Principal Barkin, who seems to think Miles is responsible for this prank.

Miles and Niles quickly become nemeses and enemies until Niles reveals his secret identity as school prankster and invites Miles to take the Prankster's Oath and join him. Miles resists at first, with some pretty funny results, but not for long. The Terrible Two team up for one brilliant, cow-themed prank, on April Fool's day, no less, that strikes more than one goat, what pranksters call their victims, and also someone who has it coming. The Terrible Two is packed with really fantastically (and, I must add for the sake of all parents reading this, largely impossible to imitate) creative pranks and some great characters that I can't wait to see evolve over the course of the series - especially classmate Holly Rash.

Source: Review Copy


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

POP-UP: Everything You Need to Know to Create Your Own Pop-Up Book, paper engineering by Ruth Wickings, illustrations by Frances Castle RL: All ages

POP-UP:  Everything You Need to Know to Create Your Own Pop-Up Book with paper engineering by Ruth Wickings and illustrations by Frances Castle is THE COOLEST BOOK EVER!!!  I know that I haven't dedicated much time to pop-up books here, but they have always held a special place in my heart, and the phrase "paper engineering" is a favorite of mine. Although I didn't know what it was at the time, I did go through a paper engineering phase when I was ten or so. I would sneak off to the back of the classroom during independent work periods and go to town on the construction paper and glue and make these little free-standing dioramas. A huge fan of The Muppet Show (the original), I reconstructed the all-baby orchestra from an episode, drawing and coloring each baby and his/her instrument then gluing them onto a 3D orchestra section I had crafted out of brown construction paper.  I also made a 3D version of Snidely Whiplash throwing Nell off a cliff with Dudley Do-Right wa…

The Seeing Stick, written by Jane Yolen, illustrated by Daniela J Terrazini

The Seeing Stick is an original Chinese fairy tale written by the prolific (and prolifically award winning) Jane Yolen. First published in 1977 with illustrations by Remy Charlip (author and illustrator of the brilliantly fun picture book Fortunately and friend and muse to Brian Selznick, who asked him to pose as George Méliès while he was working on the Caldecott winning The Invention of Hugo CabretThe Seeing Stick was reissued with new illustrations by Daniela J. Terrazini in 2009. I have not seen Charlip's version, but Terrazini's is a beautiful work of art and the book itself is yet another magnificently packaged book published by Running Press, the house that brought us Steven Arntson's The Wikkeling, yet another superbly and uniquely packaged children's book with artwork by Terrazini. Interestingly, both The Wikkeling and The Seeing Stick were designed by Frances J Soo Ping Chow.

The Seeing Stick begins, "Once in the ancient walled citadel of Peking there l…

Made by Dad: 67 Blueprints for Making Cool Stuff - Projects You Can Build For (and With) Kids! by Scott Bedford

On his personal website, Scott Bedforddescribes himself as an "Award Winning Online Creative Professional" working within the advertising and design industry. What is more interesting (and applicable here) is how hisWhat I Made website came to be. While sitting in a Starbucks with his restless young sons, trying to enjoy his latte, Bedford created something out of coffee stir sticks that ended up keeping his boys entertained, finishing his coffee in peace and sparking (re-sparking, really) his creative drive and reminding him of the "enormous joy gained from making things, even simple things, and that this joy is not the complexity or quality of the finished project but in the process of making itself. On Bedford'sWhat I Made website, he even shares Six Cool Coffee Shop Crafts for Kidsthat you can try out next time you want to enjoy your coffee and your kids are making that difficult. I've shared two below - be sure to check out the website and see the rest!

Be…