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The Roman Twins Hardcover – September 25, 1998

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Product Details

  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR); 1st American ed edition (September 25, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374363390
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374363390
  • Product Dimensions: 10.3 x 9.2 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.5 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,145,093 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Young readers are again treated to an idiosyncratic view of history through the late Gerrard's (Wagons West!; Sir Cedric Rides Again) imaginatively distorted looking glass. In Ancient Rome, brother and sister twins Maximus and Vanilla are "doomed" to be slaves to the demanding, lazy Slobbus Pompius and his vain wife. Rhyming couplets spiritedly describe how Maxi and Vanilla perform legion tasks at home, and then, exhausted, must schlep their masters through the streets of town: "Not daring to complain, nonetheless the pair felt bitter,/ Forced to fetch and cart around two fatties on a litter." But Pompius stretches his luck too far when he instructs the twins to do away with his new horse Polydox, just because Polydox (in a vintage display of horse sense) refuses to obey him. Instead, spunky Maximus and Vanilla run away with the steed and?after two new friendships, a chariot race and a brush with Ostrogoths?they finally avenge their despicable master and mistress. Gerrard's paintings tweak traditional proportion and perspective to highly amusing end as the artist puts his distinctive stamp on such period particulars as togas and sandals, lavish mosaics and monumental architecture. But the most memorable visuals are his signature characters, as round as they are short?their scale and charm (at least that of the good guys) easily endear them to kids. Ages 4-8.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Grade 2-5-Spiky-haired Maximus and his sister, (plain) Vanilla, literally slave for the slothful Slobbus Pompius and his vain wife. To save their friend, the master's spirited new horse Polydox, from being destroyed, they run away with the steed. Secretly entering him in the Emperor's Golden Cup chariot race, they win, only to have Slobbus claim the cup and demand revenge against the children. Before the Emperor can decide the fugitives' fate, the Ostrogoths threaten the city, and Maxi's friend Spontanius single-handedly defeats Wulfus the Unwashed One and saves Rome, winning the youngsters' and the horse's freedom in the bargain. Immaculate in white, and less squashed than the toga-clad adults, the twins don't really look oppressed. In fact, it's difficult to focus on them at all, what with the competition from the monumental architecture (each plinth adorned with a Latin tag: Pro Bono Publico, inter alia). The exuberance and excess look positively, well, Gothic, and Wulfus, with a beard like a bearskin, is a subversively attractive option. This historical romp in Rome, in rocking rhyme, is just as silly and as much fun as the rest of the Gerrard opus.
Patricia Lothrop-Green, St. George's School, Newport, RI
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on April 8, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Vanilla and Maximus were twins in ancient Rome. They lived as slaves with their grumpy master. One day their master bought a horse. It was too wild for HIM to ride, but when the slaves got on the horse, he was gentle. So the grumpy master decided to kill the horse for meat. What can the slaves do to save the horse?
I like this book because it's a really exciting story of ancient Rome. It has a happy ending and creative illustrations.
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By aluap on August 10, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I'm a great fan of Gerrards books but this one sustains too many out of date stereotypes.
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