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DOUBLE ACT by Jacqueline Wilson


by Jacqueline Wilson & illustrated by Nick Sharratt & Sue Heap

Age Range: 9 - 11

Pub Date: March 1st, 1998
ISBN: 0-385-32312-3
Publisher: Delacorte

 From Wilson (The Suitcase Kid, 1997, etc.), a lightweight British import that is a telling study of twindom's trials and tribulations. Doing their best to make everyone miserable in the process, ten-year-old identical twins Ruby and Garnet reluctantly adapt to changes in their family and themselves in this revealing double journal. As close in other ways as twins can be, Ruby is otherwise as rude and bossy as Garnet is shy and wimpy. Ruby doesn't like Rose, the new woman in their father Richard's life, nor his decision to move to a small town and open a bookshop, nor their new teacher, nor their classmates, so Garnet trails along on a campaign of pranks and bad behavior, offering only token resistance. Then the twins, at Ruby's instigation, take an entrance exam for an expensive boarding school and only Garnet is offered a scholarship. Wilson works with a broad brush, exaggerating the differences in the twins' personalities, and endowing Rose and Richard with inhuman funds of patience. While readers will spend most of the book wondering why Ruby wasn't strangled long ago, she takes the impending separation from her twin so much harder than Garnet that she becomes a tragic figure. In the end, the two part with hugs and tears, and start making new friends almost immediately. Their alternating accountsRuby's long and chatty, Garnet's short but eloquentare illustrated with simple black-and-white drawings, each twin done by a different artist, to no distinguishable effect. (Fiction. 9-11)