Two’s Company

Take Two!: A Celebration of Twins by J. Patrick Lewis and Jane Yolen, illustrated by Sophie Blackall; ($17.99, Candlewick Press, ages 5 and up) is reviewed by Rita Zobayan.

If you are a twin, know people who are twins, or are expecting twins, pick up a copy of Take Two!  A Celebration of Twins by J. Patrick Lewis and Jane Yolen, and illustrated by Sophie Blackall. This amusing book is a compilation of 44 poems on all things twins. The cleverly titled sections (Twins in the Waiting Womb, Twinfants, How to Be One and Famous Twins) contain verses on the aspects of life that are particularly significant to twins— establishing identity, individual personality, looks, names, and so on. Both authors have experience with twins; Lewis is a twin and Yolen has many twin family members. Their experience and insight show in the topics of the poems, as the reader gets a sense of what it’s like to be a twin. Here’s an excerpt from a poem titled “Two’s a Crowd”:

If you never have a single moment/You can call your own,/Always being dubbed “the twin”/And never left alone,/You’ll understand the plight I’m in,/Wishing I were one…

The poems range from sentimental to tongue in cheek. Each poem is written with language and in a style that children can understand and enjoy. Sophie Blackall’s illustrations are bright, colorful and a touch mischievous, much like the poems themselves. Catching the details in her pictures is an enjoyable way to complement the reading of the poems. My daughters (not twins) and I had a good time looking at the different expressions and actions that Sophie Blackwell cleverly portrays.

Throughout the book are scientific and fun facts about twins. For example, did you know that conjoined twins occur in about 1 out of 400,000 twin births? The record holder for the highest number of twin births belongs to Mrs. Feodor Vassilyev, who birthed an astonishing 16 sets of twins in the 1700s.

Take Two!: A Celebration of Twins makes for a fun poetry read on a subject that holds much fascination, especially to children. Of course, if you’re going to give the book as a gift to twins, you might want to pick up a second copy. 

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