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The Children’s Book Review
Written by Robert Hanvik
Illustrated by Karen Hanvik and Ella Ransom
Age Range: 4+
Paperback: 36 pages
Interactive Flipbook: 38 pages
Publisher: The Monster Twins
What to expect: Monsters, Twins, Travel, Adoption, and Activism
A pair of monster twins, Bella and Bertie Brave, are starring in their first picture book adventure (also available as an interactive flipbook). The Monster Twins, created by Robert and Karen Hanvik, and their daughter Ella Ransom, is an original story inspired by travel, architecture, and current events.
Bella and Bertie have no idea that they are twins living miles apart: Bella in Singapore and Bertie in London. When the twins were born, a government law required all monster families to be separated, and monster-babies would be adopted so that they would grow up to be more like people. Bella’s people-parents, Mr. and Mrs. Bold, are world travelers. Bertie’s people-parents are the very shy Mr. and Mrs. Bashful. Their monster-parents, the Braves, have dedicated their lives to trying to change the laws for other monster-couples. They hope someday to be reunited with Bella and Bertie, who meanwhile are so different and so very alike, and yearning for a best friend. As the natural pull between the pair becomes stronger, Bella and Bertie are destined to be reunited. Changes in discriminating laws and the promise of future adventures for the twins combine for a happy ending.
Bright colors pop from the inviting pages, bringing the story to life, and allowing the heavier topics of separation, discriminatory laws, and adoption to become kid-friendly and digestible. The humor infused illustrations lighten the mood, and the wanderlust feel added by the inclusion of world locations and iconic architecture is an entertaining addition. The interactive and clickable components of the flipbook version feature stunning photos by Karen Hanvik that provide facts about the places and things that Bella and Bertie see, bringing real locations such as Gardens by the Bay in Singapore and Tower Bridge in London to life. The flipbook also clicks through to coloring pages of the monsters, word searches, and other activities that add to a rich reading experience.
If you’d like to inspire your children to be global thinkers, have a desire to travel, while also encouraging activism and conversations around global issues and concepts, The Monster Twins fits the bill!
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About the Authors
The Monster Twins represents Robert’s first foray into children’s literature. Having been trained in journalism, Robert has written for media in the United States and England. As a long-time communications consultant, Robert also has written professionally on behalf of clients and governments around the world. In his various roles, he has traveled extensively in North America, the UK, and Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and Australia.
About the Illustrators
The Monster Twins is the first book Karen has designed and illustrated, although she has stretched her creative muscles for many years. Having trained at London College of Fashion and Central St. Martins (UK), Karen has channeled her creativity into numerous areas over the years, including her own line of high-fashion scarves (karenhanvik.com) and a successful career as a digital marketing consultant. An avid traveler, Karen has visited numerous locations across North and South America, Europe, the Middle East, Singapore, and Australia
Karen’s and Robert’s daughter Ella has enjoyed drawing monsters for as long as she can remember, starting when she was just six years old. More recently, she has added a deep interest in architectural drawings large and small, which inspired her to include a number of iconic buildings in The Monster Twins. Ella studied art and design at University for the Creative Arts (UK) and is currently studying for her bachelor’s degree in Computer Animation Art and Design at Bournemouth University (UK). With her family, 19-year-old Ella has spent time in the United States, Europe, the Middle East, and Singapore.
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