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Two Times the Fun

Two Times the Fun by Beverly Cleary
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Jimmy and Janet are twins, but that doesn't mean they are just alike.

When we first meet Jimmy, he wants to dig a real hole. He likes to use a real, grown-up shovel. While he's working, his sister, Janet, pretends to be a bird! She likes to use her imagination. But the twins both like silly jokes, brand- new boots, and talking to Mr. Lemon, the mailman.

As Beverly Cleary writes about Jimmy and Janet's doings, the unique understanding of children that she brings to all of her beloved books is coupled with a keen awareness of duo dynamics that comes from raising twins herself.

Originally published as four separate picture books (The Real Hole, Two Dog Biscuits, The Growing-Up Feet, and Janet's Thingamajigs), these are stories that a Jimmy would like because they are so true-to-life, and that a Janet would love because they are so believable.

HarperCollins; October 2009
99 pages; ISBN 9780061707223
Read online, or download in secure PDF format
Title: Two Times the Fun
Author: Beverly Cleary; Carol Thompson

Chapter One

The Real Hole

Jimmy and Janet are twins. They have the same mother, the same father, and the same birthday, too. Jimmy always has Janet to play with and Janet always has Jimmy to play with. Even though Jimmy and Janet are both four years old, they do not always like the same things.

Janet likes pretend things. She likes to pretend that a block is a cup of tea

or that two paper bags are a pair of boots.

But Jimmy -- Jimmy likes real things. He doesn't want to play with a toy hammer and toy nails. He wants to play with a real grown-up hammer and real grown-up nails. When Jimmy's father brings him a present, the first thing Jimmy asks is,

One morning Jimmy said to his father, "I want to dig a hole. I want to dig the biggest hole in the world."

"That's a good idea," said Jimmy's father, and he found a place in the corner of the backyard where Jimmy could dig a hole.

Jimmy took his toy shovel and began to dig. He put the shovel into the dirt and pushed it down with his foot, the way he had seen his father dig. When he tried to lift the dirt -- snap, crack -- the handle of his shovel broke.

"Daddy! My shovel broke," cried Jimmy. "I need a real shovel."

"The real shovel is too big," said Jimmy's father, "but you can try." He brought Jimmy the real shovel, which was much bigger than Jimmy. Jimmy worked and worked, but the real shovel was too big and heavy for him. The hole Jimmy was digging was hardly a hole at all.

"I have an idea," said Jimmy's father. He went into the garage and came out with a shovel that was just Jimmy's size. "I had forgotten we had this," he said.

"Is it real?" asked Jimmy.

"Yes, it's real," answered Jimmy's father. "This is the kind of shovel soldiers use to dig trenches. It is called a trench digger."

"Real soldiers?" asked Jimmy.

"Real soldiers," answered his father.

While Janet played in her swing, Jimmy began to dig. The real shovel that real soldiers used was just the right size for Jimmy. He could never break the handle of this shovel.

No, sir!

He pushed the shovel into the ground, lifted out the dirt, and tossed it out of the hole. Push, lift, toss. This was the way Jimmy wanted to dig.

Then Jimmy went to the front yard so he could show his shovel to Mr. Lemon, the mailman, when he brought the mail.

"Say, that's a real shovel you have there!" said Mr. Lemon.

"Yup, I'm digging the biggest hole in the world," answered Jimmy, and he went back to digging in the backyard. Mr. Lemon liked his shovel!

"My, what a big hole," said Jimmy's mother, when she came outside to tell Jimmy and Janet that lunch was ready. Then she brushed the dirt off Jimmy's jeans and emptied the dirt out of Jimmy's shoes.

After lunch, while Janet galloped around on her hobbyhorse, Jimmy went right on digging. Push, lift, toss. The hole was almost up to his knees when his mother came outside, brushed the dirt off his jeans, emptied the dirt out of his shoes, and took him inside for his nap.

Jimmy was so tired from digging all morning that he took a good long nap. When he woke up he climbed out of his bed in a hurry, so he could go outside and dig in his hole some more.

But when Jimmy opened the back door, he discovered that Janet was already awake. She was not only awake, she was out in the backyard sitting in his hole! "That's my hole!" said Jimmy.

"I am a little bird sitting on a nest," said Janet.

"That is not a nest!" yelled Jimmy. "That is my hole, and I want to dig in it!"

"Children!" said the twins' mother. "Janet, let Jimmy have his hole. It's his, because he dug it."

"I just wanted to borrow Jimmy's hole for a little while," said Janet, as she climbed out and went to play on the slide.

"I don't want Janet to borrow my hole," said Jimmy, and he began to dig with his real shovel. He dug and dug. Push, lift, toss. The hole grew deeper and deeper. Pretty soon it was up to Jimmy's knees. Still Jimmy dug. He had never worked so hard, but of course he had never had a real shovel to work with before. Then some dirt around the edge of the hole fell into the hole and buried Jimmy's shoes. Jimmy was not discouraged.

He pulled his feet out of the dirt, shoveled the dirt out of the hole, and went on digging. "Jimmy, you look so hot and tired," said his mother. "Why don't you rest awhile?"

"No," said Jimmy. "I'm digging the biggest hole in the world." Pretty soon Jimmy's mother and father came to look at the hole.

"My goodness," said his mother. "What are you going to do with such a big hole?"

"We could pretend it is a place to catch fish," said Janet. "I could tie a string to a stick and pretend I am catching fish."

"No," said Jimmy. "It isn't a place to catch fish. It is a real big hole."

"What are you going to do with your real hole?" asked his father.

"We could pretend it is a place where baby rabbits live," said Janet. "I could get in the hole and pretend I am a baby rabbit."

"No!" said Jimmy. "It isn't a place where baby rabbits live. It is a real hole, and I made it with a real shovel."

Then Mrs. Robbins, the lady next door, came over to see Jimmy's hole. "My, what a big hole!" she said. "What are you going to do with such a great big hole?" Jimmy did not know what he was going to do with such a great big hole. Muffy, the dog that lived next door, came over and sniffed the hole.