Saturday, March 8, 2014

The Tell-Tale Start: The Misadventures of Edgar & Allan Poe, Book One (The Misadventures of Edgar & Allan Poe #1) by Gordon McAlpine

Twelve-year-old Edgar and Allan are the great-great-great grandnephews of Edgar Allan Poe. The identical twins think as one synchronous mind giving them genius powers beyond the normal kid. Studied since infancy, the Professor Marvel believes the twins embody the scientific theory of quantum entanglement. He has sinister plans for the two for he believes their mind powers will let him take over the world. The two boys just have a hey-ho time pulling macabre pranks that would make the real Poe proud. One prank took care of the school bullies while another prank manipulated their aunt into doing what they want. When the two get kicked out of school and their cat disappears, they unknowing get swept into Professor Marvel's evil plot as their adventure takes them to an Oz-themed park in Kansas.

A subplot involves the real Edgar Allan Poe watching over the boys in the afterlife. He works for William Shakespeare in the heavenly office that makes fortune cookies where he tries to warn the boys of impending dangers. While some reviewers thought this boring, the literary characters, mishaps, and demotions made for laugh out loud moments for me. I'll be curious what students think. My guess is they will remember more of the boys pranks and adventures than the dead Poe. Who knows.

The play on words are fun but my favorite was the prank the boys pulled on the clerk who criticized Edgar Allan Poe's work saying it was not realistic enough with all the lightning, darkness, and screams. The Poe boys (sounds like poor boys...) used her computer and overloaded the circuit breakers causing the lights to explode, espresso machines to overhead and hiss, and cashier drawers to rattle open. People screamed and cowered. They scared the wits out of her. Even if the prank was unrealistic. Just kidding. I couldn't resist.

The plot is not closely tied with Poe's "A Tell-Tale Heart" but references all sorts of classics from Sherlock Holmes, Wizard of Oz, and T.S. Eliot to name a few. The cat is named after a Poe character, Roderick Usher, and the mystery is straightforward and not complex. I did wonder if the story would tie-in with "The Tell-Tale Heart," but it is mostly a reference. There are no murders or hearts pounding beneath floorboards. Mwah-ha-ha. An entertaining book for grades 3-5.

3 Smileys

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