Cally and Jimmy are Callista and Dimitri who live with their Mum and Yiayia (gran) who are Greek. In this collection of four stories for new readers, Cally shares with readers what it is like to have a twin brother who is always getting you into trouble (though, truthfully, she’s no stranger to a bit of mischief, herself).
Children will find each of these stories very funny. From flying paint, to laxative brownies, to pantomime cows, the twins never seem far away from the next disaster. Like all siblings, they are perpetually falling out and making up and, whichever stage they are in, they somehow manage to make a mess of things.
Cally plays the part of long-suffering sensible sister very convincingly, evoking themes of Dorothy Edwards’ My Naughty Little Sister stories. However, despite what she’d have her readers believe, Cally loves her brother’s mischievous nature and secretly courts his attention as often as possible. Their relationship is skilfully described, subtly highlighting the unique nature of brother-sister and twin-twin bonds. There is never any doubt that Jimmy is the most annoying person in the world but Cally’s eagerness to join in with his schemes, and her efforts to cheer him up betray her true, loving feelings towards him. Cally and Jimmy are a close team and readers will enjoy spending time in their company.
Double Dare and Double Act both take place in the twins’ school, a place where they have very different experiences: one is high flying and the other finds ADHD challenging to manage and spends each day trying and failing to avoid trouble. Antoniades is clearly at home writing about classrooms and playgrounds (she is an ex teacher) and the school scenes are convincing and avoid stereotypes like grumpy dinner ladies and shouty teachers.
Other stories take place in the twins’ home, where their parents are separated and Mum juggles a busy job alongside keeping a home (with help from the twins’ charming Yiayia, whose broken Greek and afternoon naps are another source of comedy). The twins’ lives feel contemporary and extremely relatable and genuine.
Funny without being silly, and heartwarming without being soppy, Twins in Trouble is an excellent choice for parents and children (or even brothers and sisters!) to share.