In this Monty spinoff, Hurwitz once again writes about childhood milestones—but this time with twins.
Arlene and Ilene Kelly are 7-year-old identical twins with the same straight brown hair, the same style glasses and usually even the same outfit. In six short, episodic chapters that combine into a larger narrative, the second-graders face the ups and downs of being twins. The first chapter introduces the sisters, who, though born only eight minutes apart, have birthdays on separate days. Readers learn how their parents (though not most other people) tell them apart and how they play with neighbor Monty (featured in several books by the author). Subsequent stories describe how the sisters end up with the perfect pets though they can’t decide between a cat or a dog; wonder if being twins is less special than being triplets; and deal with a Halloween mix-up. The final story realistically recognizes the girls’ anxiety when Arlene, à la Madeline, awakes in the night with appendicitis, and the sisters are forced to spend time apart. The experience affirms both their growing independence and unyielding friendship. No matter the predicament, Hurwitz interjects both humor and warmth.
Accompanied by illustrations as playful as Arlene and Ilene, this chapter book is a t-winning choice for transitional readers who have graduated from Grace Lin’s Ling & Ting early readers and enjoyed Hurwitz’s previous titles. (Fiction. 6-9)