Mr. and Mrs. Twitchell have two darling, adorable and angelic little girls–who spend all day at each other’s throats.
â€œI’m going to bite off all her toes,” growls Lavinia after the birth of baby Emmeline, and their relationship proceeds downhill from there. They scream, scratch, throw things at each other and squabble in public. Eventually, their fighting becomes so bad that their desperate parents divide the household: Mrs. Twitchell lives with Lavinia, and Mr. Twitchell with Emmeline, leaving the harassed couple to meet only in the evenings. When the parents take Lavinia and Emmeline to a vaudeville show, the girls’ over-the-top bickering during the magician’s act amuses the audience, and Mr. Travelstead hires them as his new star performers. On tour with Travelstead, each girl sees her sister only at performances, where they smash cakes, push each other off bicycles and cheat at croquet. Alas, no perfect situation can last for ever. Eventually, the girls ruin the show by becoming friends. Lively cartoonish illustrations–replete with fireworks, dancing primates and smashed eggs–splendidly complement the energetic text.
The conclusion’s unsubtle moral is redeemed by a welcome twist on the girls’ new friendship. (Picture book. 5-8)