cover image Twinnies


Eve Bunting. Harcourt Children's Books, $15 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-15-291592-6

Both Bunting (Smoky Night) and Carpenter (Sitti's Secrets) are in top form in this wise and funny story of a girl who sheds sibling rivalry in favor of affection for her twin baby sisters. Life isn't easy for the unnamed heroine who seems to be four or five and who plays second fiddle to the scene-stealing ""twinnies."" Bunting captures her angst well: when they are dressed as Raggedy Ann and Andy for Halloween, ""everybody, everybody said how darling they were""; when their frazzled parents must chase down the toddlers headed toward ocean waves, their big sister forlornly wonders, ""Who was left to run in the water after me if I ran into the water, that's what I want to know."" But eventually, she wants to keep them, just the way they are: ""They are so soft, on either side of me. I think if there was only one, I'd feel lopsided."" Carpenter's oil paintings of butter yellow and sky blue have a timeless quality, as with the twinnies at the beach, bursting out of the double-page spread in opposite directions. She also manages to give each twin her own personality (one joyfully flails ahead with mouth open wide, while the other, eyes down, makes a studied dart). Together, author and artist have created a heroine with such a likable mix of mischief and warmth that young ones will likely see themselves in her, whether or not they have their own twin siblings. Ages 6-10. (Sept.)