Quentin Fenton Herter Third always does exactly what he should, from closing his mouth when he chews to putting away his toys. But Quentin Fenton has an awfully naughty shadow, who calls himself Quentin Fenton Herter Three. Three interrupts, stays up late, and never flosses. How do these two feel about each other? "They loathed each other cordially,/ did Quentin Third and Quentin Three." Strangely enough, though, they also envy each other "--a bit." And when good little Third has the opportunity to be bad one day, guess who steps in to take his place as a perfect gentleman?
Amy MacDonald's clever rhymes are nicely complemented by Giselle Potter's unusual, naïve-style illustrations (seen also in Kate and the Beanstalk and The Honest-to-Goodness Truth). Quentin Third, with his lacquered hair, pristine white shirt, and prissy face, is the perfect foil to shadowy Quentin Three's sloppy looks and insolent expression. Good kids and bad kids alike will cheer at the happily balanced resolution. (Ages 5 to 8) --Emilie Coulter
From Publishers Weekly
Tongue-in-cheek moral verse and puckish paintings of the pasty-faced Quentin and his evil clone provide drama, laughs and a reasonable vision of juvenile behavior. In MacDonald's (Cousin Ruth's Tooth) adroit couplets, Quentin Fenton Herter III emerges as a Goody Two-shoes who harbors a secret desire to be bad: "What Quentin Third would not admit:/ He wanted to be bad a bit./ To throw a tiny little fit./ To drive his mother mad. (Admit:/ You've often you, too thought of it.)" Meanwhile, Quentin's "shadow," Quentin Three, spends his waking hours in a veritable spree of transgressions ("His friends he chivvied, teased and bossed./ And sad but true he never flossed!"), yet he dreams, just once, of doing good. The rebellion unfolds at a stuffy tea party: Quentin Third, unable to bear civilization a minute longer, loses his temper and sneezes all over his aunts' crumpets, and Quentin Three assumes the role of docile guest. Potter's (Three Cheers for Catherine the Great!) marionette-like figures wear a melange of period clothing, with the boys in knee pants, their teacher in a natty plaid suit and the aunts in governessy Edwardian dress. She enlivens the interiors via a series of running visual jokes (e.g., they have twin sets of toys, with Quentin Three's in predictable disrepair). Readers will appreciate the Quentins' double liberation: "Were they GOOD?/ Or were they BAD?/ The answer is, as you might guess,/ a loud, resounding, heartfelt... YES!" All ages.
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