The Two and Only Kelly Twins

The Two and Only Kelly Twins

by Johanna Hurwitz, Tuesday Mourning

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Johanna Hurwitz invites readers into the world of the funny, lovable Kelly twins, who are truly two of a kind.

Second-graders Arlene and Ilene Kelly are twins — identical twins to be exact — and they love being a pair. They love to dress alike, they have identical pet ferrets, and they do everything together. But being a twin is not always easy

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Johanna Hurwitz invites readers into the world of the funny, lovable Kelly twins, who are truly two of a kind.

Second-graders Arlene and Ilene Kelly are twins — identical twins to be exact — and they love being a pair. They love to dress alike, they have identical pet ferrets, and they do everything together. But being a twin is not always easy. When a set of triplets comes to school, Arlene and Ilene wonder whether triplets are more special than twins. At Halloween, on different streets in identical witch costumes, some neighbors think that the girls are one person trying to get extra candy. And when Arlene gets sick and has to visit the hospital, the twins each find out what it’s like to be one instead of two. But whether they’re together or apart, Arlene and Ilene know they’re lucky to have each other.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Hurwitz launches a chapter-book series about identical twins Arlene and Ilene Kelly, friends of the star of Mostly Monty and its sequels. “Arlene and Ilene knew that being a twin was very special, and they considered themselves lucky,” writes Hurwitz, though the girls’ sparring and antics temper any sugariness. They argue about whether to get a puppy or kitten; their father settles the dispute by bringing home two ferrets, which—in a fun dab of irony—the twins can’t tell apart. On Halloween, there’s a minor altercation when both girls want to be witches (“I said it first,” “I said it loudest”). And the twins’ sense of uniqueness is threatened when triplets—whose last name is Best, no less—join second grade; Ilene announces that she and Arlene are also triplets, requiring a flurry of lies (or “jokes” as the girls frame it). Mourning (the Kylie Jean series) pictures the girls with matching red eyeglasses, pigtails, and outfits in watercolor illustrations that add extra punch to a story that’s a natural step up from Grace Lin’s Ling & Ting books. Ages 6–9. Illustrator’s agent: Shannon Associates. (Sept.)
Children's Literature - Vicki Foote
Arlene and Ilene are identical twins in the second grade; both find that being a twin presents unique experiences. Each chapter tells about how they cope with their similarities and differences. They like the same things but argue about who said things first. When their mother says that they can have a pet, Arlene wants a kitten, and Ilene wants a puppy. When they get two ferrets instead, they are both delighted. The girls have some adventures when the ferrets manage to escape, but they are able to catch the pets eventually. They find out at school that they are not the only set of twins; there is also a set of triplets. Ilene decides to tell one of the triplets, Roberta, that she is one of a set of triplets, too. This leads to confusion until Ilene realizes that she needs to tell the truth. A chapter about Halloween tells how both girls want to be witches and how this leads to more confusion when they go trick-or-treating. After Halloween, Arlene goes to the hospital with appendicitis, so Ilene has to be without her sister for a while. During that time, each of the girls makes friends, but they still agree that they are lucky to have each other. Morning’s cute illustrations add to the book. This is a pleasant story for young children who are beginning to read chapter books. Reviewer: Vicki Foote AGERANGE: Ages 7 to 9.
Kirkus Reviews
In this Monty spinoff, Hurwitz once again writes about childhood milestones--but this time with twins. Arlene and Ilene Kelly are 7-year-old identical twins with the same straight brown hair, the same style glasses and usually even the same outfit. In six short, episodic chapters that combine into a larger narrative, the second-graders face the ups and downs of being twins. The first chapter introduces the sisters, who, though born only eight minutes apart, have birthdays on separate days. Readers learn how their parents (though not most other people) tell them apart and how they play with neighbor Monty (featured in several books by the author). Subsequent stories describe how the sisters end up with the perfect pets though they can't decide between a cat or a dog; wonder if being twins is less special than being triplets; and deal with a Halloween mix-up. The final story realistically recognizes the girls' anxiety when Arlene, à la Madeline, awakes in the night with appendicitis, and the sisters are forced to spend time apart. The experience affirms both their growing independence and unyielding friendship. No matter the predicament, Hurwitz interjects both humor and warmth. Accompanied by illustrations as playful as Arlene and Ilene, this chapter book is a t-winning choice for transitional readers who have graduated from Grace Lin's Ling & Ting early readers and enjoyed Hurwitz's previous titles. (Fiction. 6-9)
School Library Journal
Gr 1–3—Arlene and Ilene Kelly love being identical twins. The second graders dress alike, play together, argue, and make up. When a set of triplets enters their school, the girls start feeling that they may not be quite so special after all. When one twin jealously insists that they are triplets too, her sister can't help but join in on the prank. The girls set out to convince their new friends that they are more than just a pair. Through all their high jinks, the sisters remain so tight that it's hard to tell where one ends and the other begins. Things start to change when Arlene has her appendix out and the girls are separated for the first time. How can sisters who share everything have different experiences? And will they still be identical when one twin is missing her appendix? With spot art every few pages, the story should appeal to early chapter-book readers. The sisters are mischievous, but loving, and young readers won't have any trouble keeping up with their escapades.—Kelly Roth, Bartow County Public Library, Cartersville, GA

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Product Details

Candlewick Press
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
6.38(w) x 8.55(h) x 0.52(d)
600L (what's this?)
Age Range:
6 - 9 Years

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Meet the Author

Johanna Hurwitz is a former children’s librarian and the award-winning author of more than sixty books for children, including four books about Arlene and Ilene’s friend Monty, who lives on their street. Johanna Hurwitz divides her time between Great Neck, New York, and Wilmington, Vermont.

Tuesday Mourning is the illustrator of numerous chapter-book covers and is currently working on picture books. This is her first book with Candlewick Press. She lives in Utah.

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