A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Explanations of Chekhov's gun and Occam's razor, discussion of propaganda and samizdat in the U.S.S.R., references to classical music, poet Alexei Khvostenko, and eschaton and Armageddon.
Actions can have unintended consequences, and trying to make things right is the responsible thing to do. When it comes to practical jokes, the distinction between "target" and "victim" is pretty thin. Life without a sense of humor can be pretty miserable. Emphasis on collaboration and being part of a larger community.
Positive Role Models
Niles and Miles feel badly for contributing to the principal's dismissal and own up to violating the prankster's oath. They strive to follow a code of conduct that calls for them to "disrupt, but not destroy; to embarrass the dour and amuse the merry ... [and] to prove the world looks better turned upside down." Their pranks require extensive knowledge and planning. Miles is worried for his friend's well-being. One educator is engaged and invested in her students, but other adults (including parents) are distant at best and villainous at worst.
Mild insults, including "twerp" and "toady."
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Terrible Two Get Worse: The Terrible Two, Book 2 is a smart and funny take on the power imbalance between kids and adults, lampooning busy grown-ups who pride themselves on power for its own sake. This sequel to The Terrible Two -- by authors Mac Barnett (Extra Yarn) and Jory John, with illustrator Kevin Cornell (Count the Monkeys) -- is sympathetic to the hapless target of the duo's elaborate pranks. The boys are in this just for fun, and they're dismayed when their childish fun has serious consequences. An authority figure deals severely with subordinates and plays favorites. A bully gets permission to steal money from a fundraiser. A villain gets his comeuppance with public humiliation.
Is It Any Good?
When a joke goes too far, the victim isn't the only one who suffers -- the Terrible Two must wrestle with their consciences in this lively sequel that pulls off sensitivity and slapstick humor. In THE TERRIBLE TWO GET WORSE: THE TERRIBLE TWO, BOOK 2, laughter proves to be the best revenge. The hilarity of the first book continues here, and as before, much of it surrounds Principal Barkin: Forced out of his job by his own dad, he ineptly pursues new hobbies such as making hand turkeys and soap -- each failed effort depicted with wonderful full-page illustrations by Kevin Cornell.
The tensions between adults and children are the core of the story, from the burden placed on the fifth Barkin serving as principal to Niles' disappointment with his parents' lack of interest in his accomplishments. There's thoughtful stuff here -- particularly themes of despotism and dissent -- but it's presented with a wink and a smile.
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