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The Tell-Tale Start (The Misadventures of Edgar & Allan Poe #1)

3.74  ·  Rating Details ·  725 Ratings  ·  178 Reviews
Meet Edgar and Allan Poe -- twelve-year-old identical twins, the great-great-great-great-grandnephews of Edgar Allan Poe. They look and act so much alike that they're almost one mischievous, prank-playing boy in two bodies. When their beloved black cat, Roderick Usher, is kidnapped and transported to the Midwest, Edgar and Allan convince their guardians that it's time for ...more
Hardcover, 179 pages
Published January 10th 2013 by Viking Juvenile (first published January 1st 2013)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Dec 27, 2016 Zyra rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
what a delightful, light, fun and quick read! two boys with one mind. both geniuses and great-great-great-great grandnephews of the Edgar Allan Poe. it was fun to read, the way these boys mind worked and what they thought about the world around them. also you get read about Edgar Allan Poe in the great beyond & his attempts to look after them, made it brilliant.
Jules Hucke
May 29, 2013 Jules Hucke rated it really liked it
Shelves: humor, children-s-lit
fun book for gradeschoolers. Introduces a few scientific and literary concepts. My favorite parts were the sections in which a deceased Edgar Allen Poe is toiling away in the afterlife writing fortune cookie slips with William Shakespeare as his boss.
Overall, I wasn't impressed with The Tell-Tale Start. Then again it's not in my age range, I only read it out of curiosity and I needed a short book to entertain me.

Now, there were several things about this book that I did not like.
A. Nearly everyone who is not in the Poe family, doesn't really know who Edgar Allan Poe is. Uh, hello? Have you been living under a rock?
B. While reading this, I felt like it was trying to make all other books inferior to Poe's short stories and poems. I understan
Ashley Nelson
Aug 20, 2013 Ashley Nelson rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya-younger, library
I love it when an impulse check out from the library turns out to be a real winner. Extremely imaginative, clever and witty, The Tell-Tale Start was a delight. Identical twins Edgar & Allan Poe are the great, great, great, great, grand-nephews (and namesakes) of the famous poet. The boys, highly intelligent and quite mischievous, live with their aunt and uncle after their parents died in an unfortunate space accident. They also share a telepathic connection - almost like two boys with one mi ...more
Nov 20, 2012 Erica rated it really liked it
I love me a good middle grade and The Tell-Tale Start by Gordon McAlpine is as good as they come. It was quirky, fun, and one heck of a tale. I had so much fun reading The Tell-Tale Start!

The adventures of Edgar and Allan were too awesome. I loved the wit they brought with every page. They made every day occurrences into an adventure, which made The Tell-Tale Start that much more enjoyable.

The characters were pretty awesome as well. I loved how big of a role Edgar and Allan's cat played in the
Apr 18, 2013 Sky rated it it was amazing
In this book by Gordon McAlpine, twins Edgar and Allan Poe (the great-great-great-great grandnephews of Edgar Allan Poe) find that their cat, Roderick Usher, has mysteriously disappeared without a trace of evidence. The distressed twins are relieved when they learn that their cat is in Kansas with a theme park owner. But while the boys drive out to Kansas to get Roderick Usher, someone is out to get the boys. Will the boys find him, or will they end up as another mysterious disappearance?

This w
Carl Nelson
Nov 23, 2014 Carl Nelson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A lovely and subversive little gem of a book. Full of wry humor for kids and adults (especially those with a literary bent), and the plot places high value on intelligence and wit. The characters of Edgar and Allan Poe are lovingly done, and making them two boys who share thoughts all the time was a great choice for this series. The book is chock full of literary references, making it a rewarding read for book lovers. Can't wait to read more about the Poe twins, and this book makes me want to re ...more
colleen the convivial curmudgeon
I picked this book up on a whim while browsing in the library for a different book. It drew my eye because of the Poe connection, and then it looked like it could be fun. I debated about whether I would add it to my gr list, though, being a bit embarrassed by it - though I couldn't really say why, considering some of the things I've read. ;)

Anyway -

It ended up being an entertaining little book. The idea that Edgar and Allan are so alike as to almost be one mind in two bodies was interesting - an
Mar 23, 2016 Ensiform rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
The descendants of the renowned horror writer, seventh-grade twins Edgar and Allan are not only consummate pranksters, but geniuses with a telepathic connection. Unfortunately, such extraordinary children are bound to come to the attention of evil geniuses, and one such (who has been monitoring them for years, and wants to see if communication with the afterlife is possible once one of the twins is killed) gets them expelled from school and kidnaps their cat. Following a series of clues (mostly ...more
Sara Planz
Feb 13, 2017 Sara Planz rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a really cute series for kids and parents who are fans of Poe will get a kick out of all the references to Poe's works. Smart, wise cracking and fun!
Tara Young
Mar 26, 2014 Tara Young rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Every now and again I read a middle grade book. I'm so happy I picked this one up. Edgar and Allan Poe are descendants of…you guessed it…Edgar Allan Poe. These identical twins cause grey hairs to sprout on adult heads, and wrinkles to deepen, just a bit. The twins are funny, too smart for their own good and haven't yet found an adult who can tame them. They manage to take care of bullies, treat their classmates to some outrageous antics and thwart an evil-doer. Not one to spoil the surprise, I'm ...more
Avery (ThePagemaster)
DNF at pg. 64(36%)

I got this book because one thing popped out that intrigued me immensely: Edgar. Allan. Poe. For those of you that don't know, Edgar Allan Poe is, probably, my favorite writer/poet of all time; a guy before his time with a life as tragic and dark as his stories.

As an avid reader, I tend to keep an open mind when a writer puts a twist on a classic work or author. With the names "Edgar" and "Allan" used in the case of twin brothers, Edgar AND Allan Poe, I couldn't help myself, r
May 06, 2014 Alison rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-read-2014
Just a cute little story, funny and light, though with a very bittersweet thread running through of loss and family. My favorite character was probably Mr Shakespeare. ;)
Sep 18, 2015 Amy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Clever and cute
Mar 28, 2013 Ron rated it really liked it
Shelves: crime, juvenile, adventure
My son read this tale to us in the evening. He and my wife enjoyed the adventures of Edgar and Allan Poe as much as I did. Having the illustrations helped in regard to some plot points.
Ray Rosa
Dec 03, 2016 Ray Rosa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Tell Tale Start is the opener of the Misadventures of twelve year old twins Edgar and Allan Poe, not just namesakes, but also the great, great, great, great grand nephews of the late and great and spooky Edgar Allan Poe, and also bear a striking resemblance to him as well. Believed to possess above normal intelligence which often leads to them being severely misunderstood, Edgar and Allan are often mixed up in quite a bit of mischief. To their belief, it's all to the good of looking out for ...more
Jan 17, 2017 Maud rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well narrated, by Arte Johnson. Good story about some very, very clever boys.
Had a good time listening to The Tell-Tale Start.
Fun elementary-age book about twins with special abilities who are distant relatives of Edgar Allen Poe. Lost of fun, creepy elements, fast pacing, and humor.
Crabby Constance
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It was an interesting and fun read. However, there were a few problems that I didn't like about it.

1) The twins (Edgar and Allan) seemed to have no flaws. Everything turned out all right and went their way. It's not like they were selfish or rude to their friends or something, and that affected the twins in a bad way. It also seemed like there wasn't much to them. They were pranksters who had connected minds, and that was pretty much all you knew about them.
Barb Middleton
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 pr ...more
Christina (A Reader of Fictions)
For more reviews, gifs, Cover Snark and more, visit A Reader of Fictions.

Alright, guys. This is going to ACTUALLY be a short review. I thought about not reviewing this one, since I don’t have much to say about it, but other people do mini reviews and they can be a nice change of pace, so let’s do this thing.

The Tell-Tale Start wasn’t on my radar at all, but it showed up highlighted in an email about Halloween audiobooks, so I figured I’d give it a shot, because it was short and I’m willing to ex
Oct 20, 2014 ashleigh rated it did not like it
The Tell-Tale Start was such a boring and awful book that I wish I could give it no stars. As a 22 year old-kid at heart, whose a fan of Edgar Allan Poe's work, I thought giving this book series a chance would be worth it. Buzz! Wrong.

There were some long words used from the author that are incomprehensible to a child's mind, so there was not really any use for them in the book. My thoughts of Edgar and Allan being incredibly smart throughout the book made me quite bored of their characters; not
Apr 22, 2013 Heather rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: tween readers

Edgar and Allan Poe are twins that closely mirror their famous great-great-great-great granduncle Edgar Allan Poe, but not just in the exterior. The twins also happen to share their great-great-great-great granduncle’s taste for thrilling and unexpected adventures. Edgar and Allan are quite cleaver with a mischievous disposition and a particular fondness for wreaking havoc upon deserving individuals. Unexpectedly, the twins were expelled from their school and their beloved cat Roderick Usher wa
Apr 15, 2013 Brittany rated it liked it
Edgar and Allan Poe are identical twins and great (great-great-great...) grandnephews of Edgar Allan Poe. They are in fact so identical that people have a hard time telling them apart. Even the twins have some trouble determining if they are different people or one in the same. Their cat Roderick goes missing and the twins learn that he's in Kansas at the Dorthy Gale farm. They devise a plan to go rescue their cat, but something about the situation seems a bit suspicious. The boys don't see anyt ...more
Prince William Public Library System
Edgar and Allen are the orphaned great great great great grand nephews of the famous Edgar Allen Poe and, like their uncle, their creative minds are interested in all things odd, dark, grim, and spooky. Their love for the peculiar is not all they share however, the boys have a unique trait that their uncle was never able to possess.

Edgar and Allen share a strange cerebral connection through which they are able to share thoughts, experiences, knowledge, and ideas without communicating to one ano
Carol Royce Owen
May 25, 2013 Carol Royce Owen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Edgar & Allan are two identical twin boys, but more than identical, they are unusual in that they always know each other's thoughts and actions and work together perfectly as a team. Not only are they identical in looks, but also in brains - both brilliantly smart beyond their years, and although they use those brains for good - doing well in school, they also get into tremendous trouble along the way. But when they are expelled from the school district for cheating on a standardized test (o ...more
Jenn M
Jul 08, 2015 Jenn M rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Tell-Tale Start is the first book in the series "The Misadventures of Edgar and Allan Poe." Yes, identical twin brothers Edgar and Allan are related (great, great, great, great grand-nephews) to the famous 19th Century author Edgar Allan Poe, author of thriller and horror stories and the creator of the detective genre. The boys are quite adventuresome, and smart, and they tend to make life quite exciting with their well-intentioned pranks and escapades in their hometown of Baltimore, MD (a l ...more
May 15, 2013 Bookworm1858 rated it really liked it
Source: Received an e-ARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

One of my favorite classic authors is Edgar Allan Poe so I always perk up when I see contemporary novels incorporating him in some way. The twist for this book is that identical twins Edgar and Allan Poe are the multiple great-grandnephews of Poe may be one person in two bodies and the scientific implications of this have led to a mad scientist spying on them for years.

I think that premise sounds fairly bonkers and settled
Playing Jokers Blog: all suits of genres and bookish news

This is one of these moments when I feel the need to remind everyone of how I rate books. It is not on how good the book is on a literary, words, or quality. It is based purely on my enjoyment of a book. I read for enjoyment and occasionally to educate myself, a twenty-something year old woman.

This book would be ideal, probably would be a five-star book for someone in the right target age. Edgar & Allen are like characters out of a Tim
Written for older elementary to middle school kids, this is a clever book about identical twins named Edgar and Allan Poe. These boys, the great-great-great-great-grandnephews of the great Edgar Allan Poe, are not just identical but also interchangeable. Somehow, they share thoughts. Edgar and Allan have lived with their aunt and uncle since an unfortunate space accident claimed the lives of both their parents. The boys are good-natured but a handful; they really are too smart for their own good ...more
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From the author's website:

Gordon McAlpine has been described by Publisher’s Weekly as “a gifted stylist, with clean, clear and muscular prose.” A native Californian, he attended the M.F.A. Program in Creative Writing at the University of California, Irvine.

Once Upon a Midnight Eerie is Mr. McAlpine’s latest book and is the the second volume in his middle-grade trilogy, “The Misadventures of Edgar
More about Gordon McAlpine...

Other Books in the Series

The Misadventures of Edgar & Allan Poe (3 books)
  • Once Upon a Midnight Eerie (The Misadventures of Edgar & Allan Poe, #2)
  • The Pet and the Pendulum (The Misadventures of Edgar & Allan Poe #3)

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