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The Terrible Two

Last updated Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Author: Mac Barnett
Date of Publication:
ISBN: 1419714910
Grade Level: 4th    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Feb. 2019

Synopsis: Miles Murphy is not happy to be moving to Yawnee Valley, a sleepy town that’s famous for one thing and one thing only: cows. In his old school, everyone knew him as the town’s best prankster, but Miles quickly discovers that Yawnee Valley already has a prankster, and a great one. If Miles is going to take the title from this mystery kid, he is going to have to raise his game. It’s prankster against prankster in an epic war of trickery, until the two finally decide to join forces and pull off the biggest prank ever seen: a prank so huge that it would make the members of the International Order of Disorder proud. In The Terrible Two, bestselling authors Mac Barnett and Jory John have created a series that has its roots in classic middle-grade literature yet feels fresh and new at the same time.

Note to readers:
•  When skimming, look out for chapters that you can skip over (i.g. chapters 5 and 11), for the sake of getting through the book.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  Have any of you ever been the "new kid"?
•  Have any of you pulled a prank on someone? What was it?
•  Do you have friends that are the complete opposite of you?
•  If you had to move what would you miss most? least?


•  idyllic: pleasing; very peaceful
•  scowl: to make a displeased, sad or angry face
•  dread: to fear greatly
•  mesmerizing: so interesting or capturing that it takes all your attention
•  ignorant: lacking knowledge
•  catastrophic: extremely unsuccessful
•  culmination: the highest point or most intense stage
•  conspirator: someone who plots deviously or mischievously

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  What makes a good friend?
•  Should Miles have focused on being a prankster or try being someone else?
•  Do you think Miles and Niles will be good friends for a long time? Why or why not?
•  Is there such a thing as "too far" when it comes to pranks - when?

Craft ideas:
•  Make cows out of construction paper and on the back, write the best prank you can think of.
•  Personalize your paper cows to the type of student you would like to be for middle school (look at page 12 for examples).
•  Check our February craft ideas on Pinterest!

Special activities:
•  Every time the reader says "cow," the kids can say "moo."

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don’t have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!