Each book review from GCDenwiddie.com examines the graphics (cover and pictures), plot (including the ending), diversity, themes, and overall kidability.
By kidability, I mean would my liberal-arts educated, at-times-bougie, social-justice-seeking self recommend this book to other people?
Note, spoilers are included.
Whilst perusing Dare Books in Longwood, FL, I saw this amazing cover. A beautiful woman in a cute Ankara print dress with a wide-open mouth staring at a man, while two kids try to explain what is going on.
With the title being Twins in Trouble, I don’t know what the twins did, but to have their mom looking like this, the problem must have been huge. The cover captures the look of shock and disbelief that mothers have perfectly. The illustrations in the book are also my favorite style, a simple black and white penned illustration, and add to the text. Tony Morris, the illustrator, did an amazing job.
Lawo and Kato are twin boys. Lawo is always getting into trouble, but Kato is perfect and brings fruit to his mother everyday as a gift. One Saturday, their mother gives Lawo money and instructs him to go to the pharmacist, but instead of doing what she asks, Lawo goes to play football, or soccer, instead.
On his way to play football, Lawo notices a big man following him, but doesn’t think much of it. He leaves his clothes, that he’s going to change into after the game with the money his mother gives him on a big rock. Lawo proceeds to play football, and when he finishes playing, he notices that his clothes, and money for the pharmacy in the pants pocket, are gone. Come to find out, the big man has them.
Once Lawo realizes this, he notices the big man is walking towards him and starts to run away from him. Thus, the big man chases after Lawo. Lawo runs to his friend’s house. The friend decides to distract the man so Lawo can escape to his house, specifically his room. At home, Lawo still doesn’t have the prescription, the money, or his clothes. Not to mention, he is hungry because he hasn’t eaten since playing football.
Kato comes in and asks what’s wrong. and Lawo tells him everything. Right then, their mother come in to ask what’s going on, and Lawo explains. Before Lawo can be punished, a knock on the door interrupts them, and it’s the big man who was chasing them.
The man turns out to be a gardener at the hospital. He found the house from the address on the prescription and states that Lawo has been stealing from his garden everyday. Come to find out, Kato was the one who was ‘stealing’ when Kato actually thought he was bring home the fruits as a gift.
The mom tells the gardener that Kato will work at the garden every Saturday until the money is paid back. Lawo is relieved that he wasn’t punished, and the story ends.
The resolution wasn’t as complete as I would have liked. I expected to author to explain what happens to Lawo, but the story just ends with Kato being punished, and Lawo being happy that it wasn’t him being punished.
I would have loved for this story to be a series so readers could explore the twins’ adventures because we don’t get Kato’s side in this story. We just know he’s the ‘good kid,’ and Lawo has all the personality.
I think this story is, however, an excellent way to discuss sibling tension and what’s right and wrong, especially for young boys.
Be prepared for British English. This book is an excellent way to introduce your child to a different way of writing English.
Ghanaian culture is also abundant within the text. Your child will be exposed to pawpaws, guavas, or bananas, football, chemist for pharmacist ,and cedis. There’s also a glossary in the back to help out with some of the terminology with which they aren’t familiar.
Family (Sibling Rivalry) – I love the dynamic between the good kid and the bad kid. As a parent, the bad kid probably feels that they are always in trouble, so this book is a great way to explore that dynamic. As a self-proclaimed good kid, *cough,cough*I could see my sister in Lawo.
Stealing – Kato thought he was giving his mother gifts, but he was actually stealing from the garden. I think youngsters aren’t always aware of the grey areas when it comes to stealing and this offers a great way to discuss those grey areas and how to rectify those wrongs.
Stranger Danger – I love how Lawo is aware of this man following him and starts running. He didn’t stop to talk to the man. He wasn’t playing! This book offers a chance to talk about what happens when a stranger approaches your child.
African culture– In Akata Witch, Nigerian culture was explored, but in this chapter book, Ghanaian culture is explored from a kid’s point of view. By the time the book is finished, readers will notice that what Lawo and Kato experiences, while set in Accra, Ghana, are quite similar to their experiences.
This book is an excellent chapter book, and perfect for young children (6-8 years old) who are on the reading level. This book is also great for older readers, like 9-12, who are not reading on the level they should. Twins in Trouble is fast-moving and an easy read. The illustrations are numerous, so the text doesn’t feel overwhelming.
I think this book is worth reading. It was published by Chelsea House and is difficult to find, so I’ve included a few links for you to find it online, or you can call up Dare Books and order it from there.
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