Friday, April 7, 2017

Double or Nothing with the Two and Only Kelly Twins by Johanna Hurwitz, 2017

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What's the same about identical twins -- and what's different? Sleepovers, poetry projects, and new haircuts are in play as seven-year-old Arlene and Ilene start coming into their own. 

Arlene and Ilene love so many things about being identical twins. They like sharing a room, sharing friends, and wearing matching outfits. But they're in different classes at school, and one twin has a scar that the other one doesn't. One morning, their friends Monty and Joey point out a new difference that takes the sisters by surprise and gets them thinking: if they are identical twins, why are there differences between them at all?Their tongues must be the same, so why do they like different kinds of ice cream? Why does Arlene wear pink nail polish while Ilene thinks it's silly? Why is Ilene sleeping soundly when Arlene is awake, wondering how she can be sure that she is Arlene, not Ilene? Revisit the funny, lovable characters from The Two and Only Kelly Twins and take a peek at the wonders -- and puzzles -- of being an identical twin.

(80 pages)

Well, this is a very short book.

I don't usually review little-kid books, but I've always had a thing for identical twins. When Candlewick Press offered me a short book that was all about twin sisters wondering about what made each of them unique, I knew I had to say yes.

And I'm glad I did, because I got a short and sweet read out of the book. It took me about half an hour to read since it has only five chapters (80 pages) of really big text with lots of spaces for pictures. I have no idea what the illustrations look like since my ARC didn't include them, but there's an average of one picture every two or three pages.

The nit-picky part of me has to say that this isn't exactly a deep look into the issues of nature vs. nurture, that the girls seem unrealistically excited to constantly be lumped together, and that the odds of them having best friends who were also identical sisters (but who also had a fraternal male triplet) seem really, really low. Also, there's a scene early on describing how the sisters wanted to be in the same classroom in school, and how they were perfectly willing to wear nametags all year long so their teacher could tell them apart. I thought this was kind of funny, because I just watched a YouTube video the other day (here if you're interested, starting around 2:20) about the worst things about being identical twins, and the sisters in that video described feeling really singled out and embarrassed when their teacher did make them wear nametags all year long in fourth grade. I suppose every sibling pair is different, so it's certainly possible that some twins would actively seek out the nametags, but I just thought there was an interesting contrast there.

Anyway, this was a very quick and fairly shallow book that could be good for kids who are interested in identical twins. If you have one who reads it, please let us know in the comments section how they like it!

Disclaimer: This is an Amazon affiliate link, and I received a complimentary copy of this novel from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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