July 2018

The Terrible Two

The Terrible Two

by Jory John and Mac Barnett

Miles Murphy is known for one thing and one thing only: pranking. He’s the best prankster his school has ever seen. So when he’s forced to move to boring Yawnee Valley (also known for one thing and one thing only: cows), he assumes he’ll be the best prankster at his new school too. There’s one problem. The school already has a prankster — a good one. A really good one.

A Note from the First Lady

Dear Read20 Book Club families,

Well, there sure is a lot of monkey business in this book! From silly authors Mac Barnett and Jory John comes this twisted tale of two dueling pranksters, Miles and Niles. Determined to see who can out-prank and out-hoax, these classmates come up with some wildly creative ideas in a battle of tomfoolery.   

This story will keep you surprised and laughing from page one, and it might even teach you a few things too. Full of heart and rifled with lessons on being true to yourself and knowing right from wrong, The Terrible Two is all good things wrapped into one book. I hope this story gets your creative juices flowing and inspires you to make every day fun!

Keep up the great pranking reading!

Crissy Haslam

First Lady of Tennessee

Fun Family Activities


1. Advice & Opinions: Niles the prankster is full of “advice” about his philosophy on pranking. Read Niles’ statements below, think about what each one means, and then decide if you agree or disagree with Niles. Explain your choice by writing a few sentences on each one.

1.       “Pranking everybody is like pranking nobody.”

2.      “A prankster doesn’t prank for the fame. He pranks for the prank.”

3.      “Sometimes it’s okay to do something wrong if it helps you do something right.”

2. Setting: Yawnee Valley is famous for its cows. They even elected a cow as mayor! Twice! What do you think about that? What does this tell you about the job of mayor in Yawnee Valley? Principal Birkin put together a brochure filled with facts all about cows. What is your town most known for? Make your own brochure about your city or county and its most famous item. Use colors and magazine clippings, and research facts all about your famous item.

3. Character Development: At the beginning of the story, Miles thinks that if he isn’t the school prankster, he is nobody. Is this true? Is a person’s identity only about what they can do? Explain your reasoning why this is true or untrue. Who do you think is the real Niles, the boy we meet at the beginning of the book or the end? Can he be both? Niles and Miles become fast friends after their truce. What do you think caused them to make this decision? Do you think their friendship will last? Why or why not? Why do you choose to be friends with your own buddies? What are three important qualities to have in a friend?

4. Further Reading: The Terrible Two is a series of three books about Miles and Niles – you can read the two follow-up stories, The Terrible Two Get Worse and The Terrible Two Go Wild to find out what else these pranksters pull. Your local library can be a great place to find more books by authors Jory John and Mac Barnett as well. Other books you might want to check out include The Misadventures of the Family Fletcher, Dory Fantasmagory, or The Diaries of a Wimpy Kid series.