Universal adapting kids' book 'The Terrible Two'

Amulet first acquired the four-book "Terrible Two" series in a seven-figure deal.

Middle-school pranksters' tale "The Terrible Two" looks set for cinematic adaptation after Universal Studios picked up an option for the first of four books, retaining its authors to adapt their original story.

First published on January 13, "The Terrible Two" sees school prankster Miles Murphy switch schools when his family moves to a quiet town where, to his surprise, the newcomer meets his roguish match in Niles, Yawnee Valley's resident rascal.

The duo make for perfect rivals, before putting their differences aside in order to score "the biggest prank ever seen."

Mac Barnett and Jory John were already well established before their recent collaboration, Barnett with the Brixton Brothers series, "Extra Yarn" and a number of partnerships with "Terrible Two" illustrator Kevin Cornell, while John co-wrote the darkly humorous "All My Friends Are Dead," which became an internet sensation following its 2009 publication.

With The Hollywood Reporter carrying the Universal news, John can add to his screenwriting resumé thanks to the major studio association, having already provided the material for short film "The Statistical Analysis Of Your Failing Relationship," steered by award-winning commercial director Miles Jay.

"The Terrible Two" is the pair's first work together, published by the La Martinière-owned Amulet Books imprint, and has won endorsements from "The Wild Things" novelist Dave Eggers and "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" author Jeff Kinney. A further three books in the series have already been planned.