Sunday, March 11, 2018

Too Much of a Good Thing? The Two Mutch Sisters by Carol Brendler

The Mutch Sisters were collectors. It started when they were very little girls.

First there were two toy teapots.

One for Ruby, one for Violet.

As Ruby and Violet grew, so did their collections. But Violet
and Ruby had radically clashing tastes. The rotund Violet favored the rococo--fussy, flowery, and fancy in clothes and cushy, kitschy, and curvaceous in furnishings. The spare Ruby sought the minimalist in everything, simple, straight-lined, neutral colored, with perhaps a touch of stripes. Even their two cats were different. Soon their spacious home grew crowded and cluttered. The two Mutch sisters had too much of everything.

The day came when Ruby could not even find a spot for her teacup at teatime.

"This house isn't big enough for the both of us. I'm moving out!"

Ruby began removing her half of the collections.

One gargoyle,
One glockenspiel,
One brass spittoon,
One French bassoon.

Leaving Violet alone among her now lonely bibelots and curios. Ruby moved across town into a no-nonsense moderne house where she found just the right place for each of her artfully-arranged objets d'arte.

"I like it!" Ruby said...

But something was missing.

Violet finds something missing, too, and there's only one thing to do, in Carol Brendler's forthcoming The Two Mutch Sisters (Houghton Mifflin Clarion, 2018), a humorous and doubly punny and homophonically-titled tale of two sisters whose penchant for tchotchkes turns them into hoarders. But as Brendler's perfectly paced narrative points out, there's one thing you can't have too much of, and that's the company of a sympathetic sister. Youngsters will love Violet's plan to bring the two sisters, their cats, and their teacups together again, and artist Lisa Brown's final two-page spread polishes it off with just the right style of gently comic illustrations done up in crayoned blackline and watercolored illustrations, right down to Violet's chest of tools and pack of mules. Vive' la difference!

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