The Tuttle Twins Series Review

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With their engaging stories, simple and easy to read text, colorful illustrations and fun activity-filled workbooks, the Tuttle Twins series of books can be an excellent way of introducing children to important ideas in government, economics, civics, personal responsibility and more. 

While the books have a distinct point of view, the underlying explanations of key concepts are solid and we feel that the series can be a valuable resource for those looking to broaden their students’ social studies learning. 

What We Like

Affordable
Fun and nicely illustrated
Easy to read text
Makes complex ideas easy to understand
Includes fun activities to suit students of
different ages
Presents background information on influential
books, authors and philosophies
Presents a point of view that isn’t always so
commonly taught
Discussion questions can encourage critical
thinking

But watch out for

Not a neutral examination of ideas
Books can be a little too short

What Is The Tuttle Twins Series Of Books?

Created by Connor Boyack and published by the Libertas Institute, the Tuttle Twins is a series of books designed to introduce children to a variety of real world social studies concepts, from economics, history government, business, civics and more, in a simple and easy to understand way and from a libertarian perspective. 

The books are based on ideas and theories from a variety of well-known authors and thinkers from across a variety of fields and distill them into approachable stories featuring the eponymous twins that encourages a critical exploration of the world around them. 

The learning from each story is reinforced by activity-filled PDF workbooks, in-book discussion questions and more.

There is also an animated television show that, while not the subject of this review, also touches on many of the ideas and topics presented in the books.

What Ages Or Grades Are The Tuttle Twins Books Intended For?

According to the author, the intended age for the Tuttle Twins series is around 5-10, a range that we find fairly reasonable. 

Although the books introduce some pretty big ideas, by and large we feel that the authors do a pretty good job at making them accessible and understandable for younger audiences. 

Each book is written in a story format, is fairly short (so they aren’t too intimidating to read), has large font text, lots of colorful and well-drawn illustrations and generally tends to keep the reading level to a fairly reasonable difficulty level.

As the series does explain fairly complex and important concepts in a fairly simple and straightforward manner, however, we believe it can also be used as a good first resource for older students (later elementary and early middle school), as well. 

That said, teens interested in the series and its ideas may be put off by the cartoon-like illustration and simplified format of the books and may prefer a selection from the company’s Tuttle Teen series instead. 

What’s Needed To Teach Using The Tuttle Twins 

For the most part, parents interested in introducing Tuttle Twins books and their ideas only really need two things: the titles themselves, which introduce the ideas, and their associated workbooks, which serve to formalize and reinforce the learning a bit more.

As a homeschool resource, then, the series can be said to be pretty compact, easy to use and, with little to buy, manage and keep track of, relatively easy to integrate into a homeschool social studies program. 

Tuttle Twins Books

The Tuttle Twins books themselves are short (actually quite short at about 60 pages or so) softcover books that we would say are written at around a 3rd grade reading level. 

As we will explore in a bit more detail in the next section, each book centers around a broader topic in economics, government, philosophy, civics and so on but, as the twins progress through their adventure, touches on a wide variety of related concepts. 

The books are quite nicely illustrated, as well. 

Most pages include one or more well-drawn, full color and richly detailed illustrations that have a fairly modern style, making them fairly pleasing for most children to look at.

At the end of each book, parents can usually find some information about the author whose books or works the story is based on, which can serve to help give families a bit more academic, historical and philosophical context about what they’re reading, as well as a potential source for further readings.

picture of included biography of inspirational thinker that forms the basis of one of the tuttle twin books

There may also be a glossary of important terms, which can be used as part of a vocabulary lesson, as well as a few discussion questions that parents can use to review key concepts or as a jumping off point for deeper analysis or topical investigations. 

picture of glossary in tuttle twins book

Workbooks

After finishing each story, parents can download and make use of a PDF workbook to help reinforce and formalize the learning a bit more with some related exercises. 

Rather than the typical question sets, the workbooks are filled with a number of activities that can be printed out and worked on by students alone or with family members. 

screenshot example of PDF workbook from tuttle twins

There is a good amount of variety in the kinds of activities each workbook may contain, such as connect the dots, crosswords, discussion questions, mad libs and even recipes, so kids aren’t as likely to get bored or zone out during a lesson.

The included workbook activities also vary by complexity, with younger students being able to engage in more approachable ones, such as puzzles and games, while older students can try their hand at something with a little more rigor, such as short answer questions and writing assignments.

Consequently, the series can be more effectively used by parents teaching siblings of different ages. 

What Are The Tuttle Twins Stories Like And How Do They Teach?

As we’ve mentioned, each book in the Tuttle Twins series is written as a story.

The main protagonists of the series are two twins, Ethan and Emily Tuttle, who learn important lessons about the world around them through the various experiences they have and adventures they embark upon alongside their friends and family. 

And the twins do get explore some interesting and potentially enlightening situations, wehether it is building their own theater business, helping other kids set up their own small businesses by offering loans, helping local food truck owners or investingating the new developments at a local beach and the impact they have on the surrounding community.

Each book is self-contained and the underlying concept that forms the basis for its plot is usually centered on the work of a relatively well-known and influential author or academic, albeit presented through the lens of the modern world and elements of US culture that children will be more familiar with (e.g. food trucks, lemonade stands, theaters, vacations to the beach). 

The stories themselves can vary quite a bit, although they tend to follow a common structure.

Typically, the books begin with the Twins being inspired by something they encounter in the world around them, such as a theater, a food truck, another child selling hot chocolate, a book club, a new road to a beach, or a circus and its cast. 

example of a story intro in tuttle twins books

As the story develops, and often as they explore or try things out for themselves, the twins learn about important real world concepts, such as competition, lending, incentiviation, monopolies, the free market, production and consumption, equal and unequal rewards, proper business planning, the benefits of innovation, and more. 

These concepts are introduced fairly naturally, with the twins interacting with “real world” examples and their family and/or the people around them providing simple explanations. 

The books also often provide visual illustrations to outline and clarify points even further.

picture of economic diagram in tuttle twins books illustrating a point

Most stories also have the twins come face to face with the complexities and challenges of the modern world, such as regulations, competition, the effects of legislation and regulations, various laws and individuals and so on. 

The stories then end on a positive note, with the students learning to deal with a potential issue (fighting new competitors by getting sponsors to help fund greater variety and lower prices at the twin’s theater, for example), or with the twins developing a strengthened resolve to improve their world in some manner (organizing a grass roots campaign to get municipal laws changed so that their food truck friends can more freely compete with large and protected competitors). 

picture of happy ending in tuttle twins book

Finally, at the end of each book, there are often a few discussion questions as well, typically stressing a personal or critical analysis of the ideas presented, as a short explanation of the underlying book, philosophy or work that inspired the story.

Our Thoughts

Overall, we feel that the Tuttle Twins series is an intriguing way of introducing some fairly important concepts and ideas about the modern world and society to children.

Despite their storybook approach, we found the learning in the books to be surprisingly deep, with stories touching on relatively complex ideas such as capital investment, competition, small business ownership, the relationship of State and Society, opportunity costs, coercion, free market economics and more. 

picture example of tuttle twins book explaining economic concept of competition simply

Further, through the use of illustrations, simple explanations and visualizations, the Tuttle Twins books are easy to read and introduce their topics in a way that students can really get their minds around, liking concepts together using situations that kids will immediately understand and that are relevant to their world.

The writing itself is pretty easy to read and, while the information can at times be somewhat squeezed into the dialogue in our opinion (somewhat like other story-based programs such Sasafras Science), tends to flow pretty well and can be fun to read. 

We particularly like the fact that the seires treats their young readers as capable learners. 

The books never really talk down to students and takes the position that they are perfectly capable of understanding even relatively advanced ideas, such as capital financing, if it’s explained properly to them, which is refreshing.

picture of tuttle twins books introducing complex ideas

On the downside, it is important to note that the Tuttle Twins series present a very specific (free market libertarian) worldview.

picture of the tuttle twins teaching free market libertarian view of subsidy

In other words, the series is not really a neutral examination of underlying concepts or issues and does take a very strong (although admittedly open) stance on various issues such as subsidies, government intervention, regulation of business, the free market, incentivization and more. 

Although perhaps not an issue for families that support such a worldview, it may be something of an issue for progressive and even some conservative homeschooling families who may not agree with the books’ perspective or wish to see a more even-handed presentation of alternative arguments.

Are Tuttle Twins Books Secular? 

By the Tuttle Twins books are, by and large, relatively neutral when it comes to the topic of religion, being more focused on the underlying concepts and ideas they introduce.

Certain books may menion God, but these tend to reflect the underlying philosophies and arguments the books are based upon, rather than as a specific study of religion and faith, such as in the case of The Tuttle Twins Learn About The Law, which is based on the work The Law by classic French economist Frédéric Bastiat and sees liberty as a gift from God.

Pros and Cons 

Pros

Affordable

With each book in the series costing around $9.99, and with their digital activities books under $5 at time of writing, Tuttle Twins books are faily affordable and easy to slide into a homeschool social studies budget. 

Fun to read, illustrated

The Tuttle Twins series presents key ideas in government, economics, civics and more in the form of an engaging story of two young twins and their interactions with the wider world around them, a format that’s quite a bit more fun than the usual textbook approach. 

The books are also wonderfully illustrated with a modern, colorful cartoons style that kids will enjoy.

Easy to read

The Tuttle Twins books are quite easy to read and understand.

They are short (60 pages or so), use a lot of large text and simplified language to explain concepts and break up large passages of text with illustrations and diagrams. 

Makes relatively complex ideas and concepts easy for kids to understand

Similarly, while the Tuttle Twins series introduces fairly complex ideas (regulation, monopolies, subsidization, coercion, the social contract, individual freedom and responsibility, incentives, etc), it does so using clear explanations, relatable everyday situations and lots of illustrations.

As a result, it can help students more easily understand some fairly deep concepts across a variety of subjects.

Fun activities for both older and younger kids

The Tuttle Twins workbooks include a variety of fun activites designed for younger and older students in the age range, including puzzles, connect the dots, discussions and reading/writing activities. 

As a result, the books can be very useful for parents teaching siblings of different ages. 

Includes discussion questions that encourage critical thinking

Each book in the Tuttle Twins series not only introduces fairly complex concepts to kids in a way they can understand, but can also include a variety of discussion questions that will get them thinking a little more deeply and critically about what they are learning and how it can apply to the world around them.

Presents a point of view that’s not commonly taught in school

The Tuttle Twins series of books presents a pretty distinct worldview, firmly based on respected authors and thinkers, that is often left out of of most social studies curricula and programs, and this can be of interest to many homeschooling parents. 

Cons

Not a neutral examination of ideas

The Tuttle Twins books take a fairly clear libertarian, free market stance towards of the situations and ideas it presents, and does not really act as a neutral source of opinions and theories. 

Can be a little too short

Each book in the series is only 60 pages long, including illustrations, which can feel a bit short for the subjects introduced and can leave parents and students wanting a bit more. 

Who Is The Tuttle Twins Series Ideal For?

Families who support libertarian, free market beliefs

By and large, the Tuttle Twins series of books takes a fairly free market and libertarian position on many topics (the role of government in business, competition, incentives, individual liberty, society vs the State, etc) and this can be a good fit for parents who support some, or all, of these beliefs. 

Open-minded homeschools looking to introduce a broader range of views into their learning

At the same time, the books can be an interesting addition to a standard social studies curriculum, presenting a point of view that isn’t always discussed and that can be a jumping off point for discussions and analysis of their underlying messages. 

Those looking for solid, easy to understand explorations of social studies concepts

Although the Tuttle Twins books seem to have a particular point of view, they do an excellent job at presenting the underlying concepts (capital, interest, opportunity cost, subsidization) accurately and simply, making them a quick and easy resource for even older readers. 

Those looking for short, easy to read books that touch on complex ideas

Through the use of an engaging storyline, illustrations and clear and understandable writing, the Tuttle Twins series of books introduces concepts ranging from sensible business planning to individual liberty and the role of government in a way that kids can understand. 

Who Is It Not Ideal For?

Those looking for a neutral approach to social studies topics

The Tuttle Twins has a particular viewpoint and those looking for a more textbook-style, neutral approach that introduces a variety of different outlooks in equal depth and consideration may be a little disappointed. 

Those looking for a full social studies curriculum

Although the books do introduce a wide variety of concepts and ideas, and although they do have a variety of helpful activities and resources available to them, the Tuttle Twins series is not really a comprehensive homeschool curriclum in social studies.

Price

Note: Prices are correct as of writing, all prices in USD.

Tuttle Twins books are fairly affordably priced.

Each book in the series costs about $9.99, PDF workbooks cost around $4.99 and the entire series can be picked up as a combo pack for about $104.99.

That said, parents should always check for the books’ latest prices, as well as for any discounts or offers that may be available.

Or

Are The Books Worth The Price?

Overall, we feel that the Tuttle Twins series can provide a lot of value, particularly for homeschools that are amenable (or at least open minded) to the free market, libertarian principles they are based upon.

Touching on  government, economics, civics and more, the books make use of an engaging story format, clear and straightforward writing, illustrations, visuals and relatable experiences that can really help kids understand topics more clearly. 

As a result the books can teach concepts and terminology, such as capital finance, small business planning, incentivization, that other resources and programs may consider too complex or beyond them.

Further, although they are by no means a full social studies curriculum, when combined with their workbook activities and discussion questions, we feel that the Tuttle Twins series can make for a pretty thorough and age appopriate examination of its ideas from a perspective and school of thought that isn’t always included or focused on in most homeschool programs.

Even in families that don’t necessarily agree with its agruments and perspective, we feel that the books can at least spark a discussion or exploration of ideas, which is always a good thing.

Bottom Line

With their engaging stories, simple and easy to read text, colorful illustrations and fun activity-filled workbooks, the Tuttle Twins series of books can be an excellent way of introducing children to important ideas in government, economics, civics, personal responsibility and more. 

While the books have a distinct point of view, the underlying explanations of key concepts are solid and we feel that the series can be a valuable resource for those looking to broaden their students’ social studies learning.

Photo of Jennifer Keenes, a writer for the smarter learning guide

Jennifer

Jennifer Keenes is a writer and a new mom living in Florida. She studied education and, prior to becoming a freelance writer, worked as a substitute teacher at the elementary and middle school level. She is a big fan of the beach, working out and homeschooling her two daughters.