A playful and peculiarly Australian children’s picture book about twin-hood, independence and individualism.
Who’s it for:
Perfect for children aged 2-7. On face-value, this is a book specifically for twins but in fact any child in this age group will appreciate the story.
Tim and Ed are twin Koalas who look startlingly similar. Same eyes, same mouth, same feet same head.
But it’s not just about looks; they want to do everything together. “I want to be the same as him,” says Ed, jumping into the duck pond after Tim has fallen in.
Their single Dad has to do something, so he sends Ed for a sleep over at Auntie Pim’s. “But only Ed?” Said Tim, “not me?” We’ll have fun here, said Dad. “You’ll See.”
Separately, both boys enjoy their respective evenings and learn an important lesson about being an individual.
Australian writer, Ursula Dubosarsky, is the author of more than thirty picture books, novels and illustrated books for children and young adults.
“The most graceful, most original writer for young people in Australia – probably the world.” – Sonya Hartnett
Illustrator, Andrew Joyner, has a number of children’s picture books to his name, including two previous collaborations with Ursula Dubosarsky.
I’m always slightly wary of picture books that include too much of a ‘message.’ At this young age, reading should be about enjoyment and fun – not about being lectured to.
However, really smart picture books can be read on a number of levels, and this is what makes Tim and Ed a success.
At a simple, pre-schooler level, this is a book about two cheeky brothers trying to understand their ‘twinness’ and having a whale of a time at a sleepover.
The pictures have a lovely, hand-drawn feel, with a washed-out palette that seems particularly Australian.
On a slightly deeper level, this book delves what it means to be a twin and the uniqueness of every individual. ‘There are not two of you,’ Dad said. ‘You are Tim and you are Ed. But from a single egg you came, and what is why you look the same.’
And on a deeper level again, (which may require some discussion for the child to appreciate), it’s also about individualism and ageing and challenging traditional stereotypes of the nuclear family; this book packs some powerful pathos into its 30 or so pages.
The point is, the adult has a choice; they can approach the book at the level they feel appropriate for the child.
Take it as a simple story about two brothers. Take it as a comment on individualism. Take it how you will. But take it.
Buy Tim and Ed from Penguin Books Australia