Yesterday, Z and I were in shock while listening to Fresh Air as Nancy Segal, twin expert and author of Someone Else's Twin: The True Story of Babies Switched at Birth, talked about lives devastated when a hospital in the Canary Islands switched identical twins at birth. One twin (Begona) grew up believing a girl (Beatriz) who was not biologically related to her was her twin sister while her actual, and identical, twin sister (Delia) was growing up a few miles away with siblings and parents who were not biologically related to her. The discovery wasn’t made until the twins were twenty-eight!
When Z and I got home from my office, I tore open one of the boxes I picked up while I was there and found this new picture book (I must have asked the publisher for it at some point.) about twins by a twin, Hyewon Yum.
The twins in this book are five-year-old “look-alike twins” who share everything, though not always harmoniously. The story centers on a multicolored striped blanket they’ve shared since birth that is now too small to share. Both girls want the blanket, so Mom has a plan: She will make both girls new blankets, which will include part of the old one, and buy them new twin beds.
Both girls’ voices are loud, clear, and responsive to each other: “I think yellow is an excellent color for the blanket. Don’t you? No, pink is a much better color for everything!”
Yum is good at conveying emotion via illustrations. You look at the girls’ faces and body language while they’re tugging at the blanket and you can feel their frustration and anger. Though the girls bicker constantly, their love is undeniable, especially when the big sister (She is three minutes older.) is afraid to sleep alone for the first time but relaxes when little sister extends a hand out to her. Yum is careful to depict them as individuals with opinions of their own while never denying the strength of their bond. Children who are not twins will recognize the feelings the girls express.