Thursday, May 21, 2020

The Duo Does It All! The Two and Only Kelly Twins by Johanna Hurwitz

Arlene Kelly and Ilene Kelly were sisters. In fact, they were identical twins. That meant they looked exactly alike.

But there was one difference. Arlene had been born at 11:55 P.M. on July 17, and Ilene had been born at 12:03 A.M.on July 18.

"We must be the only identical twins who have different birthdays," said Arlene.

Despite that one difference, they were very much alike. They both liked the same clothes and colors, so they had identical outfits to wear for every day. But then, on their not-quite identical seventh birthdays, they didn't have identical choices for a pet.
"I want a kitten," said Arlene.

"I want a puppy," said Ilene.

The disagreement went unresolved until one night Dad brings home a box from work--with two ferrets inside. They look exactly alike, so that even the twins can't tell them apart. They name them Frankie and Fannie Ferret, and of course the ferrets are identical, too.

But when school starts, the twins discover that they are no longer so special. There are now triplets in second grade--two identical twin girls named Claudia and Roberta Best and a brother named Simon Best. Roberta boasts that they are the "Best identicals" ever.

Ilene is so annoyed with Roberta that she makes up an identical triplet, too, covering her story by saying their identical sister Marlene goes to a different school for young geniuses. But the twins soon see that keeping up their cover story is going be hard, and after one playdate when Ilene has to be pretend being both herself and "Marleen," the twins finally agree to confess their "joke" to the Bests.

When Halloween rolls around, naturally Ilene and Arlene both want to dress as witches. But the moms with the kids on their block decide to split the trick-or-treaters into two groups, so the twins go separate ways. And then, on their second street Arlene runs into a problem at every house.
"You have enough!" said one lady.

"You again? Don't be so piggy!" said a teenaged girl.

Being identical twins in the same costume can be a problem. But when Arlene wakes up with appendicitis in the middle of the night, Ilene has to go it alone at school and at karate class all week, and finds that it's not altogether a bad thing. Dressing alike and fooling people is fun, but sometimes it's easier to make new friends as just yourself, as both girls learn during their separation, in veteran author Johanna Hurwitz's first in her new beginner chapter book series,The Two and Only Kelly Twins (Candlewick Press, 2018). For double the fun, pair this one with Hurwitz's companion chapter book, Double or Nothing with the Two and Only Kelly Twins. Says School Library Journal, "This gentle twin story explores big questions about identity in an approachable way for budding chapter book readers."

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