A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Terrible Two is a terrific collaboration from Mac Barnett (Extra Yarn), Jory John (All My Friends Are Dead), and Kevin Cornell (Count the Monkeys). No need to worry about aspiring pranksters getting too many ideas: Not only are the pranks absurdly over the top, but also the boys hew to a code of conduct that rejects doing any real damage. They do maintain, however, that their targets "have it coming," and they don't face consequences (other than Miles' mortification when he's upstaged). The poor principal is wonderfully absurd in his ambition and logic, with a few sympathetic notes.
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What's the story?
Miles is miserable about moving to Yawnee Valley, remarkable only for its enthusiasm for cows. Miles was the best prankster ever at his old school, and he aims to be the best one at his new school. But as soon as he sees the principal's car at the top of the stairs, blocking the school entrance, it immediately becomes clear this school already has a prankster -- a very, very good one. Miles sets out to make a name for himself, but his rival thwarts him at every turn. Making matters worse, purple-faced Principal Barkin blames Miles for the other prankster's mischief, and the principal's son decides Miles is a great target for bullying. Soon Miles has a choice: Team up with his adversary, or try to go it alone.
Is it any good?
THE TERRIBLE TWO is an uproariously funny start to a new series for middle-grade readers. Miles and Niles are geeky heroes for the overlooked, underestimated, and pigeonholed, approaching their prank projects with admirable righteousness and professional pride. Everything about this book is over the top, from the 1,346 interesting things you may or may not know about cows to the great Cody Burr-Tyler prank and the five generations of Principal Barkins.
Beneath the hilarity, however, is a tender streak: a new kid who wants to fit in, a misfit who opts to make the most of his outsider role, and an authority figure both inspired and burdened by family expectations. Working seamlessly together, Mac Barnett and Jory John write with dry humor and insight into the world of schoolchildren. The pranks are inspired and genuinely fun (and not easy to replicate at home). Kevin Cornell's energetic illustrations are fabulous, particularly when they feature the balding, sharp-nosed, power-crazed principal.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the ethics behind Miles and Niles' pranks. Are they troublemakers, or are their pranks all in good fun?
The Terrible Two promise "to disrupt, but not destroy": Is that a meaningful distinction?
Have you ever pulled off a good prank? Are there any notorious pranksters in your family?
- Authors: Mac Barnett, Jory John
- Illustrator: Kevin Cornell
- Genre: Humor
- Topics: Adventures, Friendship, Misfits and Underdogs
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Amulet Books
- Publication date: January 13, 2015
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 8 - 12
- Number of pages: 224
- Available on: Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
- Last updated: June 19, 2019
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