Tuesday, March 8, 2016

The Terrible Two

I have really enjoyed reading chapter books with William, and we recently finished The Terrible Two, co-written by Mac Barnett and Jory John.

The book opens with Miles Murphy's transition to a new school. He and his mom have just moved from a beach community to a small cow town ("Somewhere in the distance, a cow mooed."), and he's not thrilled about it. At his old school, he was the "prankster," a role that he was proud of and worked hard to achieve. And he has every intention of being his new school's best prankster, as well.

But there's a problem: the first day of school starts with -- a PRANK! Someone has parked the principal's car at the top of the steps, blocking the school entrance. Miles is worried that there is another prankster, but somehow gets the blame for the car stunt from purple-faced, self-important Principal Barkin. Regardless, Miles is determined to show this town who's prank boss, and devises a scheme.

When he pulls a prank on the whole school, though, his prank is hijacked. He receives a message on a rubber chicken, and goes to meet the messenger. It is none other than Niles Sparks, the goody-two-shoes school helper. Niles proposes that they team up as a force-to-be-reckoned-with pranking duo: The Terrible Two. At first Miles rejects the idea, but only after a pranking war leaves him in awe of Niles' impressive pranking skills does he agree.

This book is soooo funny. From Principal Barkin's "principal pack" to the elaborate pranking journals kept by the two main characters to the clever writing, you will enjoy the story just as much as your child. Barnett and John have created flawed characters that are real and relatable -- and always funny. As intense as Principal Barkin can be, you can't help but like him! And all of the pranks and sticky situations that the characters find themselves in keep the pages turning. The chapters are short and quick, with illustrations sprinkled throughout, courtesy of Kevin Cornell.

I highly recommend this book for early or even middle-grade readers. And, if you are at all interested in hearing from the authors, check out this entertaining interview via the School Library Journal. In it, Barnett and John talk about how they see themselves in the characters, how their writing process worked, and the pranks they pull -- and have pulled on them! -- when they do school visits. Engaging books coming to life -- I love it!

Happy reading,

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