The Terrible Two
Mac Barnett has written some outstanding picture books and by teaming up author Jory John they had produced what must be an early contender for the funniest middle grade novel of the year.
Miles Murphy prides himself on being an exceptional prankster so when his family move to Yawnee Valley, a place noteworthy only for its surprisingly large population of cows, he wants to make sure his king of pranks crown comes with him. He does not anticipate that Yawnee Valley Science and Letters Academy will already have a prankster and he definitely did not expect their pranking skills to surpass his own. But rival prankster Niles knows that good pranking is no joke and that by teaming up to become The Terrible Two they have the potential to pull off the greatest prank that Yawnee Valley has ever seen. That is, if Miles is willing to put his ego aside.
Teamwork has clearly paid off in the creation of this book as Barnett and John's brilliantly cartoonish story is perfectly matched with illustrations from Kevin Cornell that echo the dry drawl of the humour. The characters are great, Principal Barkin and his principal-in-waiting son deserve every prank they get but it is Miles's rival Niles who steals the show. Chapters are short and could persuade the most reluctant reader, but don't disregard this as just another silly story. This writerly duo have made it look easy but keeping a comedy story funny throughout is tough work indeed; let's hope these terrific two pair up for some more mischief in the future.