TWIN TALES

THE MAGIC AND MYSTERY OF MULTIPLE BIRTHS

Jackson (The Wildlife Detectives, 2000, etc.) has crafted a fascinating compilation of human-interest stories, mythical, historical, and scientific information, and photographs about twins. Chapter topics include facts about twin bonding, conception and birth, identical and fraternal twins, multiple births, studies relating to the separation of twins, and stories of unusual twins. The text is enlivened by quotes from the many individuals whose stories are told. The neonatal nurse who cared for Brielle and Kyrie, born in 1995, relates how placing the girls together in one incubator saved the life of Brielle, who was dying when lying alone. Raymond Brandt describes how he knew that his twin had died five miles away, and Eva Mozes, a twin survivor of Auschwitz tells of the horrible experience there. Short chapters illustrated by color and black-and-white photographs are also subdivided by inserts on yellow backgrounds about related topics adding to, but not interrupting, the flow of the narrative. In the chapter about the special bonds that twins feel, for instance, Jackson discusses ancient ideas about twins and pictures the legendary twins Castor and Pollux. Another digression describes the annual gatherings of thousands of twins in Twinsberg, Ohio, and a third concerns the lives of Eng and Chang, the most-publicized conjoined twins. Medical procedures such as in vitro fertilization and ultrasound technology are briefly explained in text and illustration and a glossary/index adds simple definitions of the terms. This informative photo essay will amaze and mystify twins and singles alike. (Nonfiction. 10-13)

Pub Date: April 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-316-45431-1

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2001

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A sly, side-splitting hoot from start to finish.

THE MECHANICAL MIND OF JOHN COGGIN

The dreary prospect of spending a lifetime making caskets instead of wonderful inventions prompts a young orphan to snatch up his little sister and flee. Where? To the circus, of course.

Fortunately or otherwise, John and 6-year-old Page join up with Boz—sometime human cannonball for the seedy Wandering Wayfarers and a “vertically challenged” trickster with a fantastic gift for sowing chaos. Alas, the budding engineer barely has time to settle in to begin work on an experimental circus wagon powered by chicken poop and dubbed (with questionable forethought) the Autopsy. The hot pursuit of malign and indomitable Great-Aunt Beauregard, the Coggins’ only living relative, forces all three to leave the troupe for further flights and misadventures. Teele spins her adventure around a sturdy protagonist whose love for his little sister is matched only by his fierce desire for something better in life for them both and tucks in an outstanding supporting cast featuring several notably strong-minded, independent women (Page, whose glare “would kill spiders dead,” not least among them). Better yet, in Boz she has created a scene-stealing force of nature, a free spirit who’s never happier than when he’s stirring up mischief. A climactic clutch culminating in a magnificently destructive display of fireworks leaves the Coggin sibs well-positioned for bright futures. (Illustrations not seen.)

A sly, side-splitting hoot from start to finish. (Adventure. 11-13)

Pub Date: April 12, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-234510-3

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Walden Pond Press/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2016

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A beautifully rendered setting enfolds a disappointing plot.

A GALAXY OF SEA STARS

In sixth grade, Izzy Mancini’s cozy, loving world falls apart.

She and her family have moved out of the cottage she grew up in. Her mother has spent the summer on Block Island instead of at home with Izzy. Her father has recently returned from military service in Afghanistan partially paralyzed and traumatized. The only people she can count on are Zelda and Piper, her best friends since kindergarten—that is, until the Haidary family moves into the upstairs apartment. At first, Izzy resents the new guests from Afghanistan even though she knows she should be grateful that Dr. Haidary saved her father’s life. But despite her initial resistance (which manifests at times as racism), as Izzy gets to know Sitara, the Haidarys’ daughter, she starts to question whether Zelda and Piper really are her friends for forever—and whether she has the courage to stand up for Sitara against the people she loves. Ferruolo weaves a rich setting, fully immersing readers in the largely white, coastal town of Seabury, Rhode Island. Disappointingly, the story resolves when Izzy convinces her classmates to accept Sitara by revealing the Haidarys’ past as American allies, a position that put them in so much danger that they had to leave home. The idea that Sitara should be embraced only because her family supported America, rather than simply because she is a human being, significantly undermines the purported message of tolerance for all.

A beautifully rendered setting enfolds a disappointing plot. (Fiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-374-30909-1

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Nov. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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