Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The Tweedles Go Online

The Tweedles Go Online

Monica Kulling
Illustrator:  Marie Lafrance 
Picture Book
For ages 5 to 7
Groundwood, 2015   ISBN: 978-1554983537

One day Mama is preparing to make pickles when her neighbor, Gladys Hamm, comes rushing in and she is in a very excited state. With great pride Glays tells Mama that she now has a telephone installed at her house. She uses the newfangled device to order her groceries and to talk to her sister whenever she wants to.

   That evening Mama announces that the Tweedles are “going online;” they are going to get a telephone. Her daughter Franny is delighted, but her husband and son are less sure about the wisdom of getting a phone. Frankie is far too interested in taking care of the family’s electric car to care about a telephone, which cannot even be driven. Papa doesn’t like the idea that people will be able to hear his conversations. The idea of a telephone, with its lack of privacy, does not appeal to him at all.

   Soon enough the telephone is installed in the hall. When it rings for the first time fearless Franny answers it and then her mother talks to Gladys. She talks to her for so long that when she hangs up everyone else is the family has gone to bed.

   It soon becomes clear that the telephone may not be such a wonderful idea after all. Even Franny, who has wanted a phone for a while, begins to see that the machine might be more of a nuisance than a convenience.

   It is all too easy to become more than a little addicted to new and interesting technological devices. The problem is that they can take over our lives and cause us to miss out on the things in life that really do matter. With humor and sensitivity, Monica Kulling explores how one family copes when a new telephone is brought into their household. As the story unfolds, readers can see the writing on the wall, but they cannot be sure how the Tweedles are going to respond to this new technological crisis.