The scene-hogging narrator steals the show in this clever series opener.
Since the mother of 12-year-old twins Abigail and John recently died, their father, professor Elton Templeton, has decided to take his knack for inventing to Tickeridge-Baltock Institute of Technology (aka Tick-Tock Tech). At the professor’s opening lecture, disgruntled former student Dean D. Dean accuses him of stealing his idea for the Personal One-Man Helicopter. When the professor denies Dean’s involvement in his invention, Dean (with the help of his own twin brother, Dan) kidnaps the Templeton twins and their ridiculous dog, hoping to retrieve the device as ransom. How this caper, accompanied by mechanical-like illustrations, will end matters less than how the narrator will report it. Nearly a character himself, the self-important, over-the-top narrator takes pleasure in admonishing his readers (“If you don’t remember me saying that, I urge you to turn back to Chapter 2 (the first Chapter 2) and refresh your memory, because I distinctly remember saying it, and I remember you reading it”). Occasionally tedious, his end-of-chapter “Questions for Review” emphasize humor—and his ego. Also adding to the fun, particularly for word buffs, is Abigail’s use of cryptic crossword puzzles. A tender ending to this otherwise comical story acknowledges the family’s grief.
Templeton Twins hidden in integrand function (5, 3). Read it to solve it! (Fiction. 9-13)