Title: Two Times the FunTwo Times the Fun
Author: Beverly Cleary
Illustrator: Carol Thompson
Pages: 93
Reading Level: 7-10
Star Rating: ★★★★

Beverly Cleary of Ralph S. Mouse!

The Story.

It’s fun having a twin. Why, just think, whenever Janet wants to play a game, Jimmy is there to play with her! And whenever Jimmy wants to splash in the puddles, Janet is there to splash with him! Yes, being twins works out well.

But Jimmy and Janet are different in some ways. Janet likes to play pretend games. Jimmy likes to play with real things. Can Jimmy and Janet manage to solve all of their differences and grow up all at the same time?

Discussion.

Beverly Cleary is a genius. She writes truly human stories – her characters think and act just as humans really do.

I admire Cleary’s capacity from creating realistic scenarios, and, more specifically, realistic reactions from her characters. Nothing seems forced – nothing feels as though it happened, not because it was the natural thing to do, but because it helped the plot move along. Nothing is contrived.

This has probably been my favorite book from Cleary so far. The relationships are much strong – the children get along together, and their parents provide love and guidance. Only the last chapter really departed from this theme. In it, Janet begins a collection of ‘Thingamajigs’ – rubber bands, paper clips, and the like. She doesn’t want Jimmy to touch them, which, of course, makes Jimmy want to touch them. They fight quite a bit over this, until their mother distracts them by ordering two new beds for them. (Grownup beds, you understand, as opposed to the kiddy beds in which they have been sleeping.)

In one scene, after they plant a spruce tree in their back yard, Janet declares that the tree is a Christmas Tree. Later, when the twins are buying new boots, the salesman says that new boots are “just what the Easter Bunny ordered”. Jimmy and Janet thinks that the man is silly because Easter was a long time ago.

One illustration shows four year old Janet in a shirt and a pair of undies. They look more like really short shorts.

Conclusion. Other than the last chapter (which is entirely realistic, though unexemplary), Two Times the Fun is really a sweet book.

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