Riding the cutting edge of change continues to bring mixed blessings for the Tweedles, a turn of the century—the 20th century—clan.
This time it’s one of those newfangled “telephones,” installed after neighbor Gladys Hamm rushes in boasting “We are online!” Mama Tweedle is beguiled by the idea of just picking up an earpiece to order groceries, daughter Franny is outright jubilant, son Frankie is dismissive since it’s not like a car (see: The Tweedles Go Electric, 2014), and Papa frets about (wait for it) privacy issues. But soon there’s a new force in the household, with a loud Drriiing! Drriiing! that cuts off conversations, interrupts family games of crokinole, and keeps Franny up long past bedtime. Finally Franny disconnects the bells, but that prevents Gladys from calling to report seeing smoke (a false alarm, as it turns out, but still). By the end, the device has gone, in Mama’s view, from “extreme” to “our lifeline.” Lafrance’s neatly drawn scenes of figures sporting antique dress and hairstyles add further drollery to the thoroughly topical plotline. Readers will laugh at the juxtaposition, though they’re likely to think the Tweedles’ eventual ability to find cake and crokinole more compelling than the phone’s ringing a touch optimistic then as well as now.
No spam, no robocalls, no fundraising appeals…those were the days. Maybe it’s time for a crokinole comeback, too. (Picture book. 6-8)