The Poe Boys for the Classroom

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This page is for teachers, educators or anyone that wants to investigate the books with children.

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PageLines- OnceUponAMidnightEerie-200-300.jpgOnce Upon A Midnight Eerie

Book 2 of The Misadventures of Edgar and Allan Poe by Gordon McAlpine

“I liked The Tell-Tale Start a lot. I like Once Upon a Midnight Eerie even more. Good characters, good plotting – a good adventure, and a lot of fun.”
–Tony Hudtz, T.V. and audio book director


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The Tell-Tale StartIn The Tell-Tale Start, Edgar and Allan Poe (great-great-great-great-grandnephews of the legendary Edgar Allan Poe) managed to outwit the nefarious Professor S. Pangborn Perry, who was (and is) determined to kill just one of them in order to prove a mad scientific theory. Now, the boys are in New Orleans, about to play the young Poe in a major feature film. But the role may cost them their lives, because someone else now wants them dead. But who? And can the twins – with the help of their co-stars, Em and Milly Dickinson, their ghostly forebear, and a pair of real ghosts – manage to outwit them?

Discussion Questions:

1. The Poe twins list Albert Einstein, Leonardo DaVinci, and Donald Duck as their role models. If you had to choose one or more people from history as your role models, who would they be and why?

2. Among all the old grave markers in the Saint Louis Cemetery, what first attracts Edgar and Allan’s attention to the resting place of Monsieur and Madame Du Valier?

3. How are the twin sisters Em and Milly Dickinson different from one another?

4. Why are Cassandra and her grandmother out to kill Edgar and Allan?

5. Why did the pirate Pierre Lafitte kill Monsieur and Madame Du Valier?

6. To conceal his treasure, Pierre Lafitte uses anagrams of the name “William Shakespeare”. Make an anagram out of your name or the name of a friend.

7. Why does being transferred to the Animal Languages Department make life so difficult for Mr. Poe?

8. Why do the Poe twins rush out of the movie’s wrap party when they see the make-up woman holding her Chihuahua and the script supervisor holding her Cavalier King Charles spaniel?

9. Why do the Du Valiers hang around the cemetery for a few days, even after the Poe and Dickinson twins have exposed their murderer to the public to set them free to go to the “next world”?

10. If you discovered a lost pirate treasure what charities would you donate part of it to?[/toggler]


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small-book-jackets-poThe Tell Tale Start 

Book 1 of The Misadventures of Edgar and Allan Poe by Gordon McAlpine

“Entertaining and original….Endlessly fun and ultimately very satisfying on every level.” –Publishers Weekly, starred review , The Tell-Tale Start audiobook


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More about the book


The Tell-Tale StartMeet 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 a road trip. Along the way, mayhem and mystery ensue, as well as deeper questions: What is the boys’ telepathic connection? Is Edgar Allan Poe himself reaching out to them from the Great Beyond? And why has a mad scientist been spying on the Poe family for years?

Discussion Questions:

Aside from being identical – both inside and out – in what other ways are Edgar and Allan Poe unusual?

Who is Mr. Ian Archer and why does he want to pull hairs from the heads of Edgar and Allan Poe?

What scary ideas could you add to the Poe twins’ Halloween haunted house?

Of Roderick’s many tricks and talents, which is your favorite and why?

Like Mr. Poe, write a fortune cookie fortune to Edgar and Allan Poe, warning them of the danger that awaits them.  Then, write a fortune cookie fortune for yourself, foretelling something good to come.

Write a license plate warning to Edgar and Allan Poe.  Then write a license plate that describes you.

What is the lesson the twins are hoping to teach the employee in the big  book store when they make all the machines go haywire?

Why has Professor S. Pangborn Perry chosen to impersonate the Wizard of Oz?

How does the Professor’s wanting to change Roderick’s name to “Asparagus” allow the twins to figure out where their beloved cat might be hidden?

Why do the fortune cookie messages to the Poe twins stop being accurate by the end of the book?
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The Pet and the Pendulum by Gordon McAlpineThe Pet and the Pendulum

Book 3 of The Misadventures of Edgar and Allan Poe by Gordon McAlpine

“Telepathically conjoined twins, distant relatives of the eminent author, fall into the clutches of their mad-scientist nemesis one last time in this truly explosive series finale…A fitting conclusion to a series as suspenseful as it is less-than-earnest, in which mad science, quantum entanglement, encounters with ghosts, and sly twists on literary figures and memes all figure.”-– Kirkus Reviews

In The Tell-Tale Start, twins Edgar and Allan Poe foiled Professor Perry and his plan to kill one of them for his nefarious experiment. Now, in The Pet and the Pendulum, it’s the final showdown, which takes place in an old mansion outside the boys’ hometown. The Pet and the Pendulum is filled with codes, brain-teasers, humor, and cameos by the actual Edgar Allan Poe, who watches over his great- great-great-great grandnephews from the Great Beyond. You won’t want to miss the Misadventures’ exciting conclusion!

Discussion Questions

In class, Edgar and Allan report very exciting things about their Winter Break. What is the most exciting, interesting, or funny thing you have ever done over Winter Break?

Asthenovelopens,whyaretheboysparticularlyconcernedabouttheBradbury Communications satellite, which was accidentally launched into space seven years before with their parents aboard?

Which is your favorite of Edgar and Allan’s home projects, the electronic cat door, the Galileo replica telescope, or the shoes that use the wearer’s own energy to melt snow on driveways? Why is it your favorite?

What are the twins looking for at the Enoch Pratt Memorial Library and why?

Who do Edgar and Allan believe they meet at the library? Who have they actually encountered?

At the Roastmaster’s meeting, why do the twins put on a play about the murder of their great-great-great-great granduncle?

In the Great Beyond, why is Mr. Edgar Allan Poe particularly outraged that the nefarious Professor Perry is planning to use a pendulum-like blade to kill one of the twins?

When the Poe family arrives at Willow Tree Manor, what favorite foods await each? For Edgar and Allan? For Uncle Jack? For Aunt Judith? For Roderick?

Where did Edgar and Allan get the idea to use the chocolate in their pockets to entice the rats to chew through the binding ropes?

When Mr. Poe is honored by the other authors in The Great Beyond, including even Mr. Shakespeare, what do you think they admire most about him?
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