The Templeton twin's dad gets a new job at TAPAS (the Thespian Academy of the Performing Arts and Sciences) where he designs a camera lens that will be used in theatrical productions. The Dean brothers have decided to steal his invention and look like they will succeed until the twins turn the tables on them and give them a taste of being falsely accused of a crime. When a last minute sabatoge looks like it will harm someone, the twins must come to the rescue. Another fun adventure with a ridiculous dog and ingenious children.
I always laugh reading Weiner's books that are brimming with action and humor. I also usually read some passages out loud getting curious looks from those around me. I can't help myself. Here... try this aloud: "'Armoire is a French word. You pronounce it 'arm-WHAH' It means - I think - 'a place to keep your arms.' Or maybe not. Look, never mind what it means." That said, this book is so similar to the first book, the magic was a bit lost on me second time around. This doesn't tend to be a negative with young readers so don't let it stop you from getting the book. I did think the narrator inserted himself more in this novel which made for more distractions from the plot and left my ADHD brain unfocused in spots. Call it a "plot spot" if you will. Or "plot splot" if you are poetic. Maybe if the bursts of narration were less infrequent I wouldn't lose track of the details. Of course I can't find my car keys half the time so take this defect into account.
While the plot is predictable I do like the tie-ins with school subjects and the messages the author gives to readers. When Abigail and John decide to make an invention, they go through the engineering steps found in Engineering is Elementary: ask, imagine, plan, create, and improve. As a read aloud a teacher could tie it in with science. Add to that oodles of literary elements such as word plays, idioms, acronyms, mystery plot elements, and more, as well as, a major plot point on plagiarism and you have much to chew on for class or small group discussions. The message of the twins doing too much homework and not playing enough can be taken so many ways. As an adult I oftentimes don't play enough. Many kids play too much and don't study enough. At my school in Asia the students study and have tutors in first grade. Maybe they need to play more. People can reflect on their own lifestyles and happiness and gain their own meaning from the text. That's the beauty of books and good writing. It allows for personal reflections and connections to life experiences. A great addition to your library.