Children's & Young Adult Books

The richness of imagination: ‘The Unwilling Twin’ by Freya Blackwood

Several years ago I was lucky enough to see an exhibition of Freya Blackwood’s award winning work at a NSW regional gallery. She is such a talent, one of the many wonderful picture book creators and illustrators in Australia.

The Unwilling Twin is her latest picture book. It’s a quirky take on the rich imaginative world of young children.

It features Jules and her ‘identical twin’ George. They do everything together as twins often do: get dressed, eat breakfast, play, read books, and go to the beach.

It’s on the beach that their difference emerges. Jules loves to build sand castles while George loves to sleep on (or in) the warm sand. Each is an unwilling participant in the other’s preferred activity. Occasionally they argue but always make up over ice creams.

Oh, and George is… a pig!

Freya Blackwood’s pencil and pastel illustrations add a gentle humour to the narrative. I especially enjoyed the framed ‘photograph’ of Jules and George in their matching ballet tutus, and the picture of them doing their daily yoga together.

The Unwilling Twin is a humorous homage to early childhood, families, and imagination.

It is published by HarperCollins Children’s Books on 29 October 2020.

My thanks to the publisher for a copy to review.

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