First sentence: “And so it begins in front of the fire, the story of two twin sisters.”
Identical, but opposites, that’s the type of twins Arabella and Henrietta are. While Arabella’s pretty, loved more, and is a social butterfly with a lot of friends, Henrietta’s not as pretty, ignored more, and is a loner who doesn’t have friends. Arabella is the “good” child, and Henrietta is the “bad” child by their parents. Because Henrietta has been treated awfully, she does something that sets all the craziness in The Trouble with Twins in motion.
Lessons to Learn (or Not Learn) from The Trouble with Twins
- Siblings do outrageous things to each other.
Siblings can do crazy and brutal things to each other for no reason or when they feel like they’ve been wronged. They take clothes from each other or ignore each other. In retaliation, one may decide to settle the score, even if what happened is out of anybody’s control. For Henrietta, because she had been treated poorly by her parents and Arabella, she does something terrible to her sister. She’s just a kid acting out because it’s her way of getting revenge.
- The punishments has to fit the crime.
What Henrietta did to Arabella gives her parents reason to banish Henrietta to her Great Aunt Priscilla’s creepy house. However, Henrietta’s actions doesn’t deserve banishment. It may deserve a grounding or a talk with a therapist, but banishment? It’s quite extreme because it’s detrimental to both twins’ mental health—you see how they yearn for each other’s company, which causes one of them to go searching for the other and send everybody in a tailspin.
- No matter where they are, twins will have a pull towards each other.
No matter where Arabella and Henrietta goes, they will always feel a pull toward each other. They can feel each other’s emotions and see dreams of fish heads, which I know is an inaccurate stereotype. Henrietta may be thousand of miles away, but it doesn’t stop Arabella from trekking through a forest to reunite with her sister. That’s how strong these twins bond are. They might have their differences, but they love each other dearly.
Parents shouldn’t neglect their kids even if they have a favorite.
Arabella and Henrietta’s parents won’t be winning any “best parents of the year” award any time soon. They’re loving to Arabella, but very neglectful to Henrietta. They’re so focused on Arabella that they forget Henrietta exists, and when they do remember, Henrietta is the bag child. It can be quite frustrating and upsetting to read because Henrietta deserves to have her parent’s love and attention too. Parents shouldn’t make it obvious who their favorite is.
- Art can set the scene.
These illustrations really set the scene, don’t they?
- Adults are ridiculous.
Every adult you meet in The Trouble with Twins are ridiculous. They can be awful and dense, and their decisions will make you shake your head. I liked seeing that because it feels like readers are looking through the eyes of a kid. A kid may view their parents as being neglectful or ridiculous because that’s how they see it even though that may not be the case.
- The Trouble with Twins may be a good bedtime story.
Throughout the story, readers will see that sections where the story breaks to show a mother reading the story of Arabella and Henrietta to her daughter. She would make funny remarks whenever her daughter interrupts and comments on something that has happened. Young readers will learn from this Middle Grade and will have lots of questions they want to ask like the daughter.
Should you read The Trouble with Twins? Yes! This Middle Grade gives you a sweet story about two twins who are forced apart and yearns for each other; ridiculousness antics from the adults; quirky, gothic-feeling art; black humor, and much more. It’s delightful and fun, but also a bit disturbing, which is what I love to read about in Middle Grade fiction.