Sunday, February 19, 2012

On Twin-ness

Same crib, same clothes, same friends...
Pip even discovered Winnie's toes before she found her own.

Following last year's trend, 
our kids have been on the sick train for six straight weeks.

Pip had to go to school without Winnie for the first time this school year.

She hid.
She cried.
She begged to stay home. 
She imagined a sore throat.

Just before Pip left for school, 
Winnie handed her a drawing of a candy cane. 
"There, Pip. Now you can have me with you."

Pip hurriedly made a duplicate for her home-bound sister.

When we got to class,
Pip reached into her backpack
and placed a hand on the candy cane.
She patted it reverently,
and then marched ahead,
ready to face whatever life dished out.

Hurray for art, and small paper !

As a reader, a writer, and a parent of twins, 
I am always on the lookout for great twin books.
After six years of hunting,
I've only come up with a handful of stunners.

For my writer and illustrator friends,
this should be encouraging news.
There's a void in the market!

Quick! Get writing!

Considering twin characters?

Here are some important tips about twins 
to start you on your way:

1. Twins are not identical in personality.
My girls love their differences.
Uniqueness is very strong theme with twins.

2. But NOT the Good Twin / Evil Twin kind of uniqueness!
Nobody is purely evil or purely good, unless we're writing comic books.

3. Competition is huge.
My girls are minutely aware of their own failings
and successes in comparison with each other.
We encourage them to help each other in areas of weakness.
Competition and teamwork are some of our recurring issues. 

4. Some twins speak their own secret language, referred to as "Twinspeak."

5. Pip and Winnie did not learn the word "mine" for years.
They may have said it in their secret twin language,
but the "mine" concept escaped them.
They still don't really have a grasp on it.
They share just about everything.

6. Friendship is a big deal for our twins.
They have a bond that other kids long for.
They love each other with an almost telepathic closeness.

7. But, having said all this, just when I think I'm beginning
to understand my girls and their twin-ness,
they change, show new sides to themselves,
have new passions and new big deals.

So, there you have it!
Kindling for your writing fire.

Notable twin books:

The Twins' Blanket, by Hyewon Yum
is beautifully designed, with art that is spare and expressive at the same time.

We LOVE this one!

Plus, it's about Korean twins, so our kids can appreciate
that side of their heritage, as well.

Ling and Ting Not Exactly the Same, by Grace Lin
It's easy to adore this book.
An early reader, Ling and Ting is clever and cute
in modern-retro style,
celebrating sameness and different-ness.

from Ling and Ting,
Not Exactly the Same
by Grace Lin

Meet the Barkers, by Tomie dePaola.
Tomie de Paola: enough said.
I love everything he's done, 
including dog twins at school.
Great stuff, well thought out and relevant.

A few of our our favorite friendship books:


The Toot and Puddle books, by Holly Hobbie
Kit and Kat, by Tomie de Paola
Bink and Gollie - by Kate DiCamillo and Alison McGhee, ill by Tony Fucile
Two Good Friends, by Judy Delton, illustrated by Guilio Maestro
Best Friends for Frances, by Russell Hoban, ill by Lillian Hoban
Frog and Toad books, by Arnold Lobel

Favorite unique-ness books:

Chrysanthemum, by Kevin Henkes
The Seven Chinese Sisters, by Grace Lin
The Clementine books, by Sarah Pennypacker, illustrated by Marla Frazee
You're All My Favorites, by Sam McBratney, illustrated by Anita Jeram
The Story of Ferdinand, by Munro Leaf, illustrated by Robert Lawson

Please add your favorites to the comments! I'm always on the hunt!


M. Bloom said...

I Love You the Purplest by Barbara M. Joosst

Vijaya said...

Twinnies by Eve Bunting is one of our favorites. Perspective is that of an older sibling.

I have such a fascination with twins, and over the years, I've know several pairs, each twin unique, but the similarities can be astonishing. My sister and I played at being twins, but it didn't last.

The pictures are adorable.

MollyMom103 said...

Hi Faith!

I've not had twin friends. I've know a few, that's all. My daughter date an identical twin for a while. Those boys looked exactly alike but were as different as night and day.

You have a mighty list of friendship book. Nothing new is coming to mind.

On sibling books, Jacob Have I Loved is one my favorite books, but it's about sibling rivalry. I know far too much about that.

I just wanted to drop and say hi! Molly

Jessica Nelson said...

Hmmm, I haven't known many twins. I loved the books Sweet Valley Twins when I was a kid, but those kind of had the good/bad theme going on. My sister's best friends were identical twins and they were different in so many ways.

Faith Pray said...

M. Bloom, thank you! I shall hunt it down!

Vijaya, I always longed for a twin. I look forward to finding Twinnies! Thank you!

Faith Pray said...

Molly, thank you for your input! I've always meant to read Jacob Have I Loved. I'll have to check it out.

Jessica, I haven't read the Sweet Valley Twins. Are they worthy of a look? I've been thinking a lot about good/evil characters lately, wondering why Charles Dickens tended to write his evil characters so completely evil that they come out two-dimensional. Anyway, thanks so much for stopping by!


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