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The Terrible Two

Review

The Terrible Two

Written by Mac Barnett and Jory John with illustrations by Kevin Cornell.

I’m always on the lookout for a good book about pranks, and I think THE TERRIBLE TWO by Jory John and Mac Barnett is the perfect example. When Miles moves to a new town and school in THE TERRIBLE TWO, he hopes to become the ultimate prankster.

Every time Miles tries to carry out a prank, though, he is outwitted by a boy named Niles, who happens to be the school’s prankster-in-residence. Although Niles is the model student at the school, and therefore the last person you would think would carry out a prank, he hopes that he and Miles can team up to be the ultimate pranking duo. Miles, though, wants nothing to do with Niles. As the new kid, Miles would rather make a name for himself than rely on somebody else to do it. Miles ultimately rejects Niles’ offer to be a pranking team, and what naturally ensues is a prank war!

I’m always on the lookout for a good book about pranks, and I think THE TERRIBLE TWO by Jory John and Mac Barnett is the perfect example. 

Miles tries everything he can think of to prank Niles and make him look like a fool, including switching dioramas in class and trying to get him in trouble with teachers and the principal. Every time Miles tries to trap Niles in a prank, however, Niles is already thinking five steps ahead of Miles. Their prank war goes back and forth for a while until finally they decide to call a truce. Miles realizes that he would like a new friend, and Niles seems like the best choice. To solidify their friendship and their new pranking team name --- The Terrible Two --- Miles and Niles decide it’s time to carry out the ultimate prank, a prank that will surely make their names go down in history. This time, nobody is safe.

Not only are the pranks in THE TERRIBLE TWO good – the final one is a doozy – but I also appreciate how the authors capture issues kids live through on a daily basis. What kid hasn’t moved to a new school and just wanted to fit in? What kid wouldn’t want to have a close friend or two that likes the same things as them? Most importantly, what kid hasn’t daydreamed in class about anonymously setting up a prank that gets the whole school talking?

 It’s also refreshing to see such strong world-building in a funny read. Miles’ town is populated by thousands of cows, and rather than just focusing on the pranks in THE TERRIBLE TWO, the authors also spend time sharing funny and random cow facts that end up being an integral part of the story. So, if you are a prankster who’s looking for a few good ideas or you just enjoy reading about pranks, don’t miss THE TERRIBLE TWO!

Reviewed by Benjamin Boche on January 16, 2015

The Terrible Two
Written by Mac Barnett and Jory John with illustrations by Kevin Cornell.