Thursday, October 30, 2014

Mr. Pig LIVE! . . . with The Narrator

Who is today's guest on my hit talk show, Mr. Pig LIVE?

a.) an elusive character who is in no mood to share any facts about his—or her!—life
b.) someone from THE TEMPLETON TWINS hit series who has condescended me with an interview
c.)  all of the above

Answer: c. Please welcome the one, the only . . .


<<gasp! applause>>

Thanks for coming, The Narrator! I understand that John and Abigail couldn't make it due to mysterious circumstances, so you will be answering on their behalf. What are your full names?
John’s name is John Elton Templeton. Abigail’s name is Abigail Emily Templeton. My name, for all intents and purposes, is The Narrator.
What one word best describes you?
John says, “Systematic.” Abigail says, “Deductive.” Actually, neither of them say any such thing. But in my opinion, those are what they SHOULD say, so let’s leave it at that. As for me, perhaps the best single word to describe me is, “Pretty much unbelievably brilliant.” I realize those are four words. But each one is a single word, so let’s leave it at that.

I'm too afraid of you to disagree. What is the best thing about being you?

The best thing about being John is, he is happily at home in his own mind. The best thing about being Abigail is, she is happily at home in the world. The best thing about being me is, the fact that I’m so wonderful.

Is there a worst thing about being you?

The worst thing about being John is, having to be distracted by things in the world. The worst thing about being Abigail is, having to deal with stupid people. The worst thing about being me is, having to bother answering questions about John, Abigail, and everyone except myself.

Oh my! Sorry. If you three were stranded on a desert island, what would you bring?

John would bring Abigail, and she would bring a two-man submersible submarine with which to return to civilization. I would bring an excellent library, a lifetime supply of good self-preparing food, a solar-powered electric generator, a handsome three-story Tudor townhouse, a computer with broadband capability, and a helicopter which I would somehow already know how to fly.

From The Templeton Twins by Ellis Weiner. Illustration copyright 2014 by Jeremy Holmes.
Of course. If you all could have any superpower, what would it be?

John would like super speed. Abigail would like x-ray vision. I would like the ability to be awake and asleep at the same time, so I could enjoy being myself even at night.

What is your idea of the perfect day?

For John, a perfect day includes shutting out the other team in soccer (he plays defense), executing a clever new figure on the drums, and reading a great book. For Abigail, a perfect day includes scoring a goal in soccer, successfully solving a difficult cryptic crossword puzzle without having to look at the answer in the back of the book, and reading a great book.  For myself, a perfect day includes being me, all day.

What are you three reading right now?

John is reading Camp Bad Guy, book 1 (The Worst Kids in the World) by Ellis Weiner, available in e-book form wherever e-books in e-book form are available. Abigail is reading Camp Bad Guy, book 1 (The Worst Kids in the World), etc. I am reading Anti-Intellectualism in American Life, by Richard Hofstadter, shaking my head sadly at every page and murmuring, “Alas, how true…”

From The Templeton Twins Make a Scene by Ellis Weiner. Illustration copyright 2014 by Jeremy Holmes.

What is your favorite word?

John’s is PARADIDDLE, which is a kind of drum pattern, in which you hit with one stick, then the other, then twice with the first, like this: R L RR or L R LL (where R = Right hand and L = Left hand).  Abigail’s is STAR, because the same letters can be arranged into RATS, TARS, ARTS, and STRA, which is not a word but which should be. My favorite word is POOL, because backwards it’s LOOP, and if you loop around loop you get pool, and if you swim back pool you get loop. I just made that up and I’m delighted with it.

Brilliant! What is you least favorite word?

We don’t have any. Oh, all right, we do. John’s is CRIMP, because he finds it unpleasant. Abigail’s is APOTHEGM (“APP-o-thhem”) because of that horrible “GM” at the end. Mine is QUEUE because, as with BANANA, one never knows when to stop writing it.

B-a-n-a-n-a-n-a-n-a--. I see what you mean. What is your favorite sound?

John’s is the sound of his Sabian HHX Evolution Ozone Crash cymbal. Abigail’s is the snap you get when you break a carrot in half. Mine is the silence that arrives the moment after your computer shuts off.

What is your least favorite sound?

John hates the whine of a dentist’s drill. Abigail hates the sound of a roller applying paint to a wall. I hate the sound of half the people on radio and television and online, whose nasal voices have no business being near a microphone.

Share one thing that most of our readers don’t know about you.
For John, it’s that he wishes he were taller. For Abigail, it’s that she hates cilantro. For me, it’s that I wish my ears were smaller.

From The Templeton Twins Make a Scene by Ellis Weiner. Illustration copyright by Jeremy Holmes.

If you could dine with three characters from other books, who would they be?
For John, it’s Harry Potter, Lyra from The Golden Compass, and Huckleberry Finn. For Abigail, it’s Sherlock Holmes, Hazel (the rabbit) from Watership Down, and Frodo Baggins. For me, it’s Catnip, sorry, I mean Capncrunch Evermore...that doesn’t look right, either...Carteblanch Evinrude...oh, never mind.

If a genie gave you one wish, what would you wish for?

John would wish to be able to laugh as readily as his sister. Abigail would wish to be as musical as her brother. I would wish for both of those things for myself.

What is in your pockets right now?

In John’s pocket are a drum key, some coins, and two hard candies welded to their cellophane wrappers. In Abigail’s pocket are one of those tiny pencils like you get at miniature golf courses, a pack of bubble gum, and (for some reason) one of Cassie’s dog treats. In my pocket are a set of keys, some coins, and an old Ibuprofen tab.

From The Templeton Twins Make a Scene by Ellis Weiner. Illustration copyright 2014 by Jeremy Holmes.

What is your most embarrassing moment?

John has never been embarrassed. Abigail’s most embarrassing moment was when she misspelled “rhythm” in a spelling bee in school. Mine was when, in tenth grade, on the first day, the head librarian came over the PA to announce that anyone who turned in library books that were overdue “would get a D on their report card in Library.” I was very indignant about this, and announced to the whole class how unfair that was. Everyone looked at me as though I were insane, and yelled, “SHE WAS KIDDING.”

What is your pet peeve?

John’s is people who pretend to know things they don’t. Abigail’s is people who don’t know how much they don’t know. Mine is other people.

What was it like working with Ellis Weiner?

For John, it was an exquisite pleasure, since Mr. Ellis Weiner taught him a few things about playing drums. For Abigail, it was a sheer delight, since he taught her some tricks and tips about doing cryptic crossword puzzles. For me it was absolute torment. But in a good cause.

Thank you, The Narrator! Now if you could spare us a bit more of your time, our caterer Nina from Mamabelly's Lunches with Love has prepared you a puzzler of a lunch. Can you figure it out?


About The Templeton Twins series 
by Ellis Weiner, illustrated by Jeremy Holmes
Published by Chronicle Books   

ISBN 978-1452111841 (October 2013)

Abigail and John Templeton find themselves at TAPAS (the Thespian Academy of the Performing Arts and Sciences) where their father, the illustrious Professor Templeton, has been hired to invent a groundbreaking theatrical device. Once again, there is drama (of course!), silliness, and suspense, as the twins (and their ridiculous dog) must thwart the dastardly Dean brothers in order to save the invention as well as their father (and the dog). Oh yes, there is sure to be another recipe. This time for guacamole. Or is it coleslaw?

"As irresistible and hilarious as its predecessor. . . . This humorous story is sure to entertain reluctant and avid readers alike." School Library Journal

"The intrusive, self-absorbed narrator hogs the limelight and keeps the vocabulary words and brainy laughs coming."
The San Francisco Chronicle


ISBN 978-1452127040 (August 2012)

"This entertaining series will win over word lovers, mystery and puzzle solvers, fans of gadgets and those who previously had not thought of themselves as readers" Shelf Awareness, starred review

"This book a) is extraordinarily snarky, b) has glorious illustrations, c) is sure to be a hit, d) all of the above?"

"The scene-hogging narrator steals the show in this clever series opener."
Kirkus Reviews

 About the author
Ellis Weiner was an editor for Spy magazine and National Lampoon. He has also written a lot of funny books for grown-ups. The Templeton Twins Have an Idea and its sequel, The Templeton Twins Make a Scene, are his first books for children.To learn more about Ellis, visit his website
The Narrator is in no mood to share any more facts about his—or her!—life. He’ll tell you what he wants you to know when he feels like it. If you must, follow him at @TheTTNarrator 


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