From School Library Journal
Grade 4-6 Some identical twins support one another, while others are competitive. Rebecca and Rachel are of the latter variety or so it seems to Rachel, the chubbier, duller, less-loved member of the duo. In episodic chapters, Rubel chronicles a portion of their fifth-grade year in 1964 in Miami a trip to Monkey Land, a visit to a friend's grandfather in the Everglades, Halloween in heat that melts chocolate, and snow donated by an ice company and shipped to the elementary school just before Christmas. These stories have the ring of truth about them, but the vignettes are not fully engaging because the only thread running consistently through them is Rachel's whining about her feelings of inadequacy. Mildly eccentric relatives lend a soupçon of humor to the proceedings, but this is outweighed by the twins' mother's apparent depression. Rubel's pen-and-ink illustrations are the best thing about the book as they successfully capture the discomfiting mixture of the mundane and slightly bizarre characters who populate this novel. Miriam Lang Budin, Chappaqua Public Library, NY
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Gr. 3-5. Although they are identical twins, fifth-graders Rachel and Rebecca Ringwood are as different as hot and cold. Rebecca has more than her share of the brains, winning the constant praise of her parents. Unfortunately, Rachel's knack for getting into trouble attracts a different kind of attention, but her way of viewing the world, full of hilarious personal theories, allows her to rationalize the unfairness of life. Experiences, commonplace as well as sobering and unusual, are portrayed through Rachel's wildly imaginative yet piercingly honest perspective: visiting a grandmother whose search for the perfect honey cake gives Rachel nightmares; gorging on Halloween candy while walking home to preempt confiscation of her goodies; plotting revenge against an anti-Semitic bully; living with a gorgeous mother, who sometimes can't get out of bed to face the world. Even before Rachel's artistic talents are finally recognized, readers know she is special. Rubel's narrative and her distinctive illustrations capture the details that make Rachel's daily adventures so appealing. Nancy KimCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved