The Templeton Twins Make a Scene: Book 2

Book review by
Mary Eisenhart, Common Sense Media
The Templeton Twins Make a Scene: Book 2 Book Poster Image
Brainy twins fight evil onstage in silly, fun sequel.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

The Templeton Twins series is unabashedly aimed at word-savvy kids who will revel in such jokes as the college being named TAPAS. Since it's a theatrical institute, John and Abigail pick up a lot of inside knowledge about lighting, sound, and other stagecraft. They also get useful advice from their dad about problem-solving. The Narrator packs the story with foreign words as well as questionably reliable advice on their proper use.

Positive Messages

Strong messages of courage, resourcefulness, kindness, and slapstick. At one point the twins make off with a needed object from the theater, and the Narrator goes into a dissertation on stealing. When Abigail lies to the villains, same thing.

Positive Role Models & Representations

John, Abigail, and their father, though cartoonish, also are clever and brave and look out for one another. Even the ridiculous dog Cassie plays a role in saving the day.

Violence & Scariness

The nefarious Dean twins kidnap Cassie the dog and threaten to kill her. They also tamper with Professor Templeton's invention in potentially deadly ways. Some fight scenes with hand-to-hand combat, from which the Deans emerge much the worse.


One of the sound-effect tapes in an illustration is labeled "Goose Fart." When the twins are trying to create a diversion by acting like brats, they call each other "poopyhead."

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Templeton Twins Make a Scene continues the adventures of John and Abigail Templeton, which began in The Templeton Twins Have an Idea. Once again the wisecracking Narrator hogs the spotlight to the point of reducing any actual story or character development to a mere wisp, which will have some readers in stitches and others just annoyed. Despite the reappearance of the evil Dean twins, who are once again bent on stealing Professor Templeton's invention, the skullduggery here is more silly than scary. The Templeton twins again devise ingenious schemes and clever devices to save the day, as the series settles into a predictable, amusing formula.

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What's the story?

Now 13, twins John and Abigail Templeton are just settling in on the campus of TAPAS (the Technical Academy for the Performing Arts and Sciences), whose administrators hope Professor Templeton's latest invention will restore the college's fortunes. Alas, the villainous Dean brothers, who caused so much mayhem in The Templeton Twins Have an Idea, are back with more evil plots. As John and Abigail, their dog Cassie, and their nanny Manny try to help the professor and save the day, the Narrator continues to obscure the story with a steady stream of wisecracks, complaints, footnotes on foreign words, pop quizzes, and a recipe for coleslaw.

Is it any good?

If the Narrator -- whiny, wisecracking, self-promotional, and prone to distraction -- drove you insane in the first Templeton Twins book, you're in for more of the same in this one. Here's an example, midway through a guacamole recipe vaguely related to the story: "This whole topic is becoming somewhat annoying. I've decided I don't want to talk about guacamole. It upsets me. Instead I'm going to teach you how to make coleslaw." On the plus side, if the Narrator's shenanigans had you in stitches, you'll be in heaven.

Still, both the Narrator and the other, much-eclipsed characters have benefited from the first volume's scene-setting and are making themselves at home in the emerging formula, which takes the Templetons and their "ridiculous dog" to a new campus and new adventures with each volume. As Jeremy Holmes' intricate, hilarious illustrations prove, the fact that the whole thing is cartoonish adds to the fun.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the Narrator. Do you like stories wherein the narrator is constantly calling attention to himself, or do you wish he'd just get on with the story?

  • Do you think it would be fun to live on a different college campus every year? What would you like about it?

  • Do you think the professor's advice -- to figure out what problem you're trying to solve -- is something you'd find useful in real life? Or do you prefer the coleslaw recipe?

Book details

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For kids who love mystery and humor

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