Review Blog

Oct 14 2014

Olive Marshmallow by Kate Saunders

cover image

The Five Mile Press, 2014. ISBN 9781760061265
(Age: Preschool) Recommended. Siblings, Babies, Family. When Archie notices his mum getting bigger and the predominance of frilly pink things coming into the house, he wonders what is happening. Mum shows him a scan, although the has no idea of what it is, and tells him he will get a baby sister. He is unsure. Mum goes away for a sleepover and returns with a pink frilly thing that looks to Archie like a marshmallow, and that is what she is called, Olive Marshmallow.
This is a cute tale of Archie's acceptance of his baby sister with a spin at the end when the two realise they will soon be three. When Olive gives her brother a present, he begins to share his things with her, and soon comes to realise that two can have fun together, even if she does not speak yet. The stages of her development are shown subtly, as Archie comes to spend more time with her, seeing he is now the big brother, the elder child. At the end we see that this will happen all over again.
Saunders' illustrations are in a naive style using blocks of colour within bold outlines, giving the impression that a child has done the drawings. Some very cute touches are included, such as the blackboard at the start with the basic family outlined on it, and the page in which Archie has put on Olive's wings and veil or the increasing mix of both children's toys. Lots of things to watch out for will engage younger readers, and those with a sibling will understand the initial anxious moments while those about to have a sibling come into the family will be appeased. This is a book to add to the repertoire of adults and teachers using stories to encourage discussion about something children may be concerned about.
Fran Knight

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