McAlpine (Mystery Box) opens the Misadventures of Edgar and Allan Poe series by introducing the 12-year-old great-great-great-great-grandnephews of famed author Edgar Allan Poe. More than just identical twins, Edgar and Allan are literally of one mind ("Each always knew what the other was thinking, feeling, experiencing"). A mad professor is quite interested in harnessing the power of the boys' mind meld (which is credited to "quantum entanglement" theory), and he creates an elaborate Wizard of Oz-related ruse to kidnap them. In establishing Edgar and Allan as orphaned mischievous geniuses with a connection to the macabre, the author lays some complex groundwork, including passages about what the twins don't know and coded messages from Poe himself, delivered from the "great beyond." This scene-setting slows the story's initial progression, though the action eventually picks up, and Zup-pardi's spindly b&w spot illustrations add to the overall creepy atmosphere. The light horror, snarky laughs, and gloom- and prank-loving protagonists should particularly appeal to fans of the Edgar and Ellen books and similar fare. Ages 8-12. Agent: Kelly Sonnack, Andrea Brown Literary Agency. (Jan.)[Page ]. Copyright 2012 PWxyz LLC
Gr 4-7--As the great-great-great-great-grandnephews of the renowned horror writer, seventh-grade twins Edgar and Allan do their best to live up to his sinister reputation. Whether creating "The Pit and the Pendulum"-inspired Halloween trap or a grotesque rearrangement of the biology class skeleton, the boys use their mental powers to astonish their classmates and dismay their teachers. Their amazing skills have also attracted the attention of evil Professor Perry. After engineering their expulsion from school, he kidnaps their cat, leaving clues that will lure the boys cross-country to his Kansas OZ-itorium Theme Park, which celebrates the L. Frank Baum tale. The Professor idolizes the Wizard of Oz, whom he claims is among the world's great villains. Just as the Wizard used Dorothy and her friends to eliminate his rival and dominate Oz, the Professor intends to use the twins' powerful telepathic link to exchange information between this world and the afterlife, giving him control of both spheres. Unfortunately, this will involve killing one of the boys. The twins' efforts to thwart the evil genius are encouraged by supernatural messages from Edgar Allan Poe himself, somewhere in the Great Beyond. Interdimensional communication is unreliable, and the messages are often misleading. Can Edgar and Allan save the world? While the convoluted plot is often amusing, the twins are not particularly likable. They use their superior intelligence to manipulate others, and their "pranks" are often vicious and destructive. Authority figures like teachers are clueless or corrupt, while the twins' aunt and uncle blithely ignore the nasty practical jokes and cruel comments. An additional choice where series fiction is in high demand.--Elaine E. Knight, Lincoln Elementary Schools, IL[Page 166]. (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.