The Two Mutch Sisters

Two Mutch Sisters cover image

Carol Brendler, illus. by Lisa Brown. Clarion, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-544-43074-7

“A playful look at sisterhood and honoring differences when having some things in common doesn’t mean having everything in common. The two Mutch sisters have two of everything, and Violet believes they are as perfectly matched as the objects in their collections. Ruby, however, has other ideas. And she’s ready to do something about them.” —from the jacket

Available now! I loved writing this story, and I ++love++ the illustrations. Hope you will, too.

Find out more about illustrator Lisa Brown, article: “Inside the Studio with Lisa Brown” from the Children’s Book Review.

Buy a copy for your very own: Indiebound, B & N, Amazon


–Publisher’s Weekly–

Ruby and Violet Mutch are born with the collecting bug and grow up with two of everything: “Two sundials, two snorkels, two bouffant wigs, two whirligigs.” By the time they become adults, and their individual styles have emerged—Ruby is 1960s bohemian, Violet leans toward hygge—there’s too much Mutch stuff. Despite Violet’s pleas, Ruby decamps to her own house on the other side of town. “I have made everything just right,” she tells Violet smugly. “And I like it.” But Violet knows—as only a sister can—that Ruby isn’t as happy as she seems, and she takes matters into her own hands. Ruby’s dismissive treatment of Violet may surprise some readers, but overall Brendler (The Pickwicks’ Picnic) and Brown (Goldfish Ghost) keep the mood light—particularly when it comes to Violet’s methods for bringing about a reunion with her sister (it involves “pneumatic jacks, a stack of sleds, a chest of tools, a pack of mules”). By the story’s end, the message is unmistakable and reassuring: love is thicker than clutter. Ages 4–7.

–Kirkus Reviews–

When the titular two Mutch sisters finally collect too much, one sister moves into her own house, prompting the other to make her own dramatic change.

Ruby and Violet Mutch, both white, started their obsessive collecting as little girls. “As the sisters grew, so did their collection” of matched possessions, including sundials and snorkels, clavichords and canoes, gargoyles and glockenspiels, until their house “was stuffed to the shingles with two of everything.” Eventually, an overwhelmed Ruby strikes out on her own, moving her half of the collection to her own new house on the other side of town, where she arranges it as she wants. Ruby’s pleased she’s “made everything just right” but feels something’s missing and isn’t sure what until Violet unleashes a bold plan to ensure the Mutch sisters “never had too much of anything” and just enough of each other. The title’s clever wordplay, the paired collections of bizarre items, and the visually jam-packed pages reinforce the theme of “too much.” Cartoonlike ink-and-watercolor illustrations use bold outlines, bright colors, and whimsical details to chronicle the Mutch sisters’ amusing journey from fledging collectors to full-fledged hoarders and from separation (traced through a double-page map) to contented reunion.

Sisters with too much learn to appreciate their differences in this lighthearted, tongue-in-cheek tale. (Picture book. 4-7)

–School Library Journal–

PreS-Gr 2-Two sisters began collecting items at a very young age and continued into their adult years. Eventually their collection grows until “the house they shared was stuffed to the shingles.” Ruby Mutch decides to move out. Violet has to work through her sadness of not living with one another. Eventually, they move next door to one another. The illustrations are bright and eye-catching while demonstrating the overwhelming nature of their collections pages are cluttered with illustrated items the girls own. This gives young readers a feel of how crowded the shared home had become with all their belongings. This picture book would be an entertaining read-aloud for elementary age readers. Ruby Mutch and Violet have a strong bond, and young readers with siblings will enjoy a story about two sisters who grow up to live beside one another. VERDICT A colorful picture book for classroom libraries that will be an instant favorite with readers who enjoy a comical view of siblings.-April Sanders, Spring Hill College, Mobile, AL


The sisters Mutch, who have cohabitated well into middle age, drift apart and back together again in this celebration of sibling similarities, differences, and compromise. Both sisters are fanatic collectors, and their home is bursting at the seams with things in sets of two, reflecting their different tastes. While Victorian-loving Violet doesn’t mind a bit of a mess, Ruby, true to her streamlined midcentury affinity, finally gets fed up with all that clutter and moves out, satisfied with just one of everything: Neither one of us has too much now. Loneliness soon descends upon both, though, until Violet, with the aid of pneumatic jacks, a stack of sleds, a chest of tools, a pack of mules, moves both their houses next to each other, making everyone happy: not too close and not too far. Brown’s signature ink-line-and-watercolor illustrations, in a clean and clear style, are enjoyable and provide details to spot and motifs to follow, and the many interesting words like crinoline, bouffant, glockenspiel, and spittoon make it feel idiosyncratically homey.–Medlar, Andrew