FUN BOOKS ABOUT TWINS
Some of the most successful children's books in Germany have been on twins, just think of DAS DOPPELTE LOTTCHEN by Erich Kaestner or the popular series Hanni und Nanni by Enid Blyton. And it is easy to see why, the topic offers lots of opportunity for slapstick on mistaking identities, Twins obviously also work great to explore more serious topics like identity or the complicated mix of feelings among siblings. There are many popular and great series with twin protagonists such as Petronella Apfelmus, the beginning reader series Der magische Dachboden and Die Jagd nach dem magischen Detektivkoffer or Lenni & Luis , but the focus here is on books that actually are on twinhood itself. You may want to look for a book on twins for your twins. Or because your children know twins. Or just because the books are a fun read that happen to have twins.
Here are our favorites:
ZWEI UND MEHR
There are lots of chapter books, picture books on twins, however, are scarce. But there is this classic: two babies at once seems many? Well, the lion dad raises three, the owl has lots of eggs in its nest. What is few or many anyway? Beautifully illustrated.
3 years and up
DAS DOPPELTE LOTTCHEN
Das Doppelte Lottchen is probably one of the best known books in German kid literature of the 20th century. Even though it was first published more then 70 years ago, it is still popular and has been made into a movie a couple of times.
At a summer camp two girls meet who look identical. There are twins, who didn't know of each other's existence. Bald and brazen Louise Palffy, from Vienna and shy and meticulous Lotte Koerner from Munich find out that their parents were married and then divorced, with each taking one twin. They decide to swap roles, so each of them gets to know the other parent: Louise goes to the mother in Munich, and stuns everybody by suddenly not doing her homework, not knowing how to cook and getting into fights with class mates, while Lotte at the father's suddenly is becoming a stellar student and doesn't eat her favorite food. When she learns their father wants to remarry, she suddenly gets sick and doesn't respond to Louise's letters anymore. Meanwhile their mother has found a picture of the two at the camp...
6 years and up
Martin Baltscheit / Sandra Brandstaetter
BEN UND THEO
Ten year old identical twin brothers Ben and Theo always come in pairs - a brother unity, as their father reminds them. And they are close brothers, they are there for each other. But it is also annoying if people can't tell them apart and don't acknowledge them individually And recently they have started fighting over who is better, best at playing piano, swimming, drawing, skating... on a daily basis. When they find a magical mirror, they are excited. Not only does it tell them the future of the people around them, it also serves as a portal to another world. A world where each of them is a single child and gets their parents' and friends' full attention.
But just when they discover that they would rather be together than alone, their parents get the mirror redone and suddenly the entry and exit of the portal is blocked. Will they be united again?
Fun book around philosophical questions: Who am I? Who and what is important to me? By the way; Baltscheit has is a father to twin boys.
8 years and up
CORA UND FRED
The twins Cora and Fred will never be mixed up.. There also are no magical doors in this book, just everyday life in all its glory. Cora and Fred still have their struggles.. For their upcoming birthday party for instance, their parents want to invite nine children to their 9th birthday (following a German rule), but Cora and Fred each have their own friends, and own interests. So in the end, they get to invite nine children each. Or when Fred wants a pet and convinces his parents to get a lizard, Cora out of reasons of fairness wants one too. They also both want a bunk bed - one for each of them - but then one seems slightly higher then the other!
Martina Wildner tells this story in alternate views, one chapter is from Cora's perspective and one from Fred's.
And overall this book tells things amazingly well from the point of view of children.
8 years and up