Krull delves into the intriguing subject of famous sibling rivalries.
Krull’s stories come from the worlds of art, entertainment, technology, politics, sports, and aristocracy. Among the most compelling is that of Chang and Eng Bunker, the conjoined twins from Siam permanently connected at the base of their chests by a thick band of flesh. “Peeing, pooping, sleeping, doing everything that humans do,” Krull explains, is what they did for 62 years, “with never a moment’s privacy.” Both brothers married and had a total of 21 children. Fortunately, they were experts at living cooperatively, the only way to live happy lives. Less cooperative were queens Mary I and Elizabeth I. Elizabeth imprisoned her sister in the Tower of London, although it was Mary who paved the way for Elizabeth’s long reign, proving that a woman was capable of ruling England. Other sibling relationships profiled include the Wright Brothers, the Romanovs, the Jacksons, Vincent and Theo Van Gogh, Serena and Venus Williams, and Roy and Walt Disney. Concluding each profile is information giving historical context to the subjects’ times and accomplishments. Lam’s frequent black-and-white cartoons add to both humor and context.
Readers with siblings will relate to these stories of brothers and sisters who got along and who didn’t, and only children may feel relieved to be alone. (Collective biography. 8-12)