The Tapper Twins Tear Up New York

Book review by
Mary Eisenhart, Common Sense Media
The Tapper Twins Tear Up New York Book Poster Image
Wacky duo adds mayhem to scavenger hunt in funny follow-up.

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Kids say

age 11+
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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Over the course of the book's mayhem, readers get an insider's tour of New York, from the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the John Lennon Imagine memorial to the rug department at Bloomingdale's and the Cronut bakery in SoHo.

Positive Messages

Pride goeth before a fall more than once, as brilliant, can't-fail schemes come to grief, and some of the most spectacular no-hopers come through with just the right insight or bit of information to put their team ahead. A strong sense of virtue and fair play (especially on Claudia's part) is balanced with nonstop squabbling and snark, such as:

"The fact that some people in New York City don't have enough food to eat REALLY bothers me. Especially when you consider how well off a lot of families at Culvert Prep are. It just seems completely unfair and wrong that kids could go hungry in one part of the city while people like Athena Cohen have so much money they can fly to Bermuda every weekend on a private jet."

Positive Role Models & Representations

Kid characters engage in lots of hair-raising behavior, from getting shut into trucks headed for New Jersey to antagonizing the fans in an English soccer bar called Hooligan's. Parents are mostly well-meaning and keep anything truly awful from happening, but in classic sitcom manner they regularly find themselves hornswoggled by their kids, led around by the noses by said kids, or otherwise out of their depth. Despite their antics and sometimes over-the-top rich-kid behavior, Reese, Claudia, and their friends are fundamentally kindhearted and loyal to one another, creative in pursuing their goals, and (relatively) gracious in defeat.

Violence

The worst violence befalls a stuffed animal, who suffers various cruel fates including being cut in half by a subway train. A few comic references to violent video games, with a mention of exploding cows.

Sex

People call Jens and Claudia boyfriend and girlfriend, but Claudia does not think the idea is age-appropriate because they're only in sixth grade.

Language

Occasional references to "kicking butt," dogs peeing on rugs. Self-styled bad dude Xander explains his absence: "I was hittin' the little boys' room. X-Man needed to tinkle."

Consumerism

Many commercial establishments and products among the scavenger-hunt challenges, from Bloomingdale's to Cronuts. Front-row seats to Madison Square Garden, and its many possible events, are a coveted prize.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that the cover illustration of Geoff Rodkey's The Tapper Twins Tear Up New York, in which Twin A, in a Statue of Liberty costume, has just set fire to the hair of Twin B, is a pretty good preview of what's to come in the ensuing 288 pages. We're talking sitcom reality here, with squabbling sibs, beleaguered parents, and hair-raising (if not actually burning), cartoonish misadventures, from getting locked in delivery trucks to provoking drunken soccer hooligans. Amid the mayhem in this follow-up to The Tapper Twins Go to War (With Each Other), there are positive messages about friendship, teamwork, fair play, unlikely heroes, and creative solutions. Also lots of local NYC color from the insider perspective that will inspire further investigation.

User Reviews

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Kid, 9 years old May 3, 2016

Too Hilarious...for younger kids.

This book is just hilarious laugh out loud. The story takes place in a New York Scavenger Hunt. The book gives a huge tour around New York and kids living in ot... Continue reading

What's the story?

New York's zany Tapper Twins return, as sixth-grade president Claudia dreams up a scavenger hunt, which soon has her; her twin brother, Reese; their hapless parents; and their classmates from posh Culvert Prep involved in assorted mayhem across most of the five boroughs. It's all to raise funds to feed New York's hungry kids, but the prize -- front-row tickets at Madison Square Garden, to the event of the winner's choice -- quickly leads to a lot of unseemly, hilarious behavior. Still, says Claudia, those newspaper stories about "Schoolkid Scavengers Run Riot: Private School Kids, Parents in Fundraiser Fracas" are "almost completely not true," so she and the dramatis personae set the record straight in phone pictures and text messages.

Is it any good?

Formulaic-comedy veteran Geoff Rodkey is in top form in this text-message-and-phone-pic "oral history" of sixth-graders run amok (or not, depending on whose version you believe). The second installment in his Tapper Twins series, THE TAPPER TWINS TEAR UP NEW YORK, introduces readers to many of the city's attractions and activities, from the Staten Island Ferry to schmoozing with the paparazzi, while delivering nonstop snarky commentary in (G-rated) middle school language from a host of cartoonish -- but highly entertaining -- characters.

Don't look here for noble quests or inspirational speeches, but, as in much classic comedy, there's a strong sense of fair play, just comeuppance, and cleverness rewarded after many unexpected adversities.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about stories set in New York City. Which ones do you like best? Do they make you want to visit? What would you really like to check out when you get there?

  • Do you like the way the Tapper Twins stories are told in phone pictures and text messages? Do you think that's a good way to tell a story? Do you think you and your friends could write your own story this way about something that happened to all of you?

  • Do you think scavenger hunts are a good way to learn about a place? Create a scavenger hunt that involves things in your neighborhood.

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