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[Saturday Reads] The Twins’ Series by Hyewon Yum

"The Twins' Blanket" and "The Twins' Little Sister."


Myra here.

Every Saturday we hope to share with you our thoughts on reading and books. We thought that it would be good practice to reflect on our reading lives and our thoughts about reading in general. While on occasion, we would feature a few books in keeping with this, there would be a few posts where we will just write about our thoughts on read-alouds, libraries, reading journals, upcoming literary conferences, books that we are excited about, and just book love miscellany in general.

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The Twins’ Blanket (Amazon | Book Depository)

Written and Illustrated by Hyewon Yum Publisher: Farrar Straus and Giroux (2011) ISBN: 9780374379728 (ISBN10: 0374379726) Literary Award: Charlotte Zolotow Award Nominee, Highly Commended Title (2012). Borrowed via Overdrive. Book photos taken by me.

While there are quite a number of sibling-themed books, only a few really explore what it means to be a twin. In Hyewon Yum’s twin series, it appears that she is drawing from her own experience of being a twin, seeing how she dedicated this book to Misun, her twin sister.

The story shows how the twins share most everything, even their mother’s belly at one point. One other thing that they own and share since childhood, albeit grudgingly, is their blanket.

Evidently, the blanket had become too small for these two growing girls. Hence, the story revolves around how the twins’ mother is creating a new one with the twins’ favourite colours (pink for one, yellow for the other). I like how the competition and the tension among the siblings is portrayed without the need to romanticize it.

The story felt true: red, irate faces and all.

The Twins’ Little Sister (Amazon | Book Depository)

Written and Illustrated by Hyewon Yum Publisher: Farrar Straus and Giroux (2014) ISBN: 9780374379735 (ISBN10: 0374379734) Borrowed via Overdrive. Book photos taken by me.

In the sequel to the two-book series, the twins now have a baby sister, which poses quite the conundrum, seeing how they cannot seem to agree on sharing the things that they already have in the first place, their mother included, with whom they feel quite possessive towards.

While I do not have a twin sibling, I felt the dynamism, the movement, the tearing-the-mother’s-face-and-arm-off moments as the twins struggle to ensure that each has the mother’s undivided attention. I also laughed out loud when I saw the twins’ initial reaction to the new baby when their mother brought her home:

The baby is red and ugly.

She looks like the bread in a paper bag.

The way that the twins eventually came to welcome the new baby, once again, felt true with all its playful competition and games and desire to one-up each other in their mother’s eyes – and by extension, the little sister’s.

I really appreciated the sparse artwork of Hyewon Yum: the clean lines, the muted/pastel colors, and the expressiveness in the children’s faces. I look forward to featuring more of her works in the future. I am glad to have discovered a new-to-me author-illustrator through our current reading theme.

#SurvivalStories2021 Update: 81/82 out of target 100

Myra is a Teacher Educator and a registered clinical psychologist based in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates. Prior to moving to the Middle East, she lived for eleven years in Singapore serving as a teacher educator. She has edited five books on rediscovering children’s literature in Asia (with a focus on the Philippines, Malaysia, India, China, Japan) as part of the proceedings for the Asian Festival of Children’s Content where she served as the Chair of the Programme Committee for the Asian Children’s Writers and Illustrators Conference from 2011 until 2019. While she is an academic by day, she is a closet poet and a book hunter at heart. When she is not reading or writing about books or planning her next reads, she is hoping desperately to smash that shuttlecock to smithereens because Badminton Is Life (still looking for badminton courts here at UAE - suggestions are most welcome).

1 comment on “[Saturday Reads] The Twins’ Series by Hyewon Yum

  1. Pingback: Of Multi-Generational Homes and Gentrification in Picturebooks by Asian Creators – Gathering Books

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