Welcome back to Yawnee Valley. As in The Terrible Two, there are hills and cows. Miles Murphy and Niles Sparks are on their way to the Prankster Hall of Fame if there is such a thing. Their latest work, a creation so perfect that it cannot be destroyed – the flowers involved are a protected species – has been memorialized in the all-school picture. What can possibly get worse about this scenario?
Just wait a beat or two. Principal Barkin’s power-hungry retired father, also Principal Barkin, uses the Terrible Two’s work to get back in the game of indoctrination, er, education, where he will put a stop to Miles and Niles and their dastardly plans.
But this is not just your normal boys-against-authority book for middle graders. First, there are the illustrations, which are funny and detailed and often bear a closer look. Then, you’ve got the random bits of information Barnett and John sprinkle throughout – cool words like “eschaton”, concepts like propaganda vs. samizdat – finally, there will be water-soluble thread, which despite all earlier clues, I missed!
I love these books. There is nothing terribly deep or life-changing about them, but there is much joy and regular chuckling. Who doesn’t need a good laugh? Who wouldn’t like to see some former principal of theirs get pranked? I had been looking forward to this one for months, and I’m telling you, my copy is headed straight for elementary school this afternoon, exactly where it should be.
The Terrible Two Get Worse by Mac Barnett and Jory John, illustrated by Kevin Cornell