Friday, March 6, 2015

Olive Marshmallow by Katie Saunders

The classic new baby formula gets a fresh and funny new look in this new title.

Archie lives in a blue boy world - his pajamas are blue, his toys are blue, and he loves "planes, robots, and football." But something is changing...Mommy's tummy has gotten big and her office! Archie is a little worried about all these "fluffy, frilly, very pink things" and then he finds out there's a baby in Mommy's tummy! Then Mommy goes to the hospital and comes back with the new baby (and the promised surprise for Archie). New baby Olive looks just like a marshmallow but Archie is more interested in his new tractor. But maybe those pink toys aren't so bad after all...and neither is Olive Marshmallow. Soon Archie and Olive are best friends...just in time for another surprise!

The quirky illustrations show an adorably curly-haired and stereotypical little boy who gradually warms up to the idea of a little sister, finally ending up with both of them romping through the playroom in pink wings and fairy crowns. The art style is a kind of modified Lauren Child, with soft colors and interesting patterns and shapes.

There are a couple odd notes - I find it hard to believe that the parents wouldn't tell Archie about the new sibling until his mom was, as can be seen in the picture, very close to giving birth. The ultrasound picture shows a cartoon baby with rosy cheeks, smiling in her sleep. Any child who sees an actual ultrasound is going to be in for a bit of a surprise! The final part of the story zips Olive from infant to toddler with surprising speed and although she looks like a mature toddler or young preschooler, it says that "Olive doesn't have much to say yet" so kids may be disappointed that their own infant siblings take a little longer to get to the point where they can play together.

Verdict: Although I do have some quibbles with the plotting of the story, it's a fun take on the new sibling theme and although I'd rather have seen Archie have a bit more of a toy variety at the beginning it was nice to see them all blended together at the end, as he realizes that Olive's toys are as fun as his own. A fun additional purchase if you're looking to expand your selection of new sibling purchases. I look forward to more titles from this new publisher.

ISBN: 9781499800197; Published March 2015 by Little Bee Books; F&G provided by publisher; Added to backlist of picture books

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