Anna McGregor, A Pair of Pears and an Orange, Scribble, June 2021, 32 pp., RRP $24.99 (hbk), ISBN 9781922310750
From the creator who brought us Anemone is not the Enemy comes another bright, retro-feel picture book about friendship.
This time we meet two friends. Big Pear and Little Pear are playing together, and everything is fabulous until Orange joins in and then Big Pear begins to feel like a third wheel! This is a scenario with which many children may be able to make connections. Word play, humour and anthropomorphised fruit characters help to lighten the mood of some big ideas for small people.
The bright, pastel illustrations are engaging, and the varying emotions of the characters are captured effectively with simple pen lines.
The resolution in this book is very satisfying – lessons have been learnt and the friendship group has adjusted and learned to accommodate new members with new activities.
A Pair of Pears and an Orange would be a valuable tool to support primary classrooms or home discussions around tensions, misunderstandings, and group dynamics in an appealing and fun way. This story demonstrates simply yet powerfully that including new friends is possible when creative solutions are utilized.
Reviewed by Bronwyn Joseph (CBCA Early Childhood Judge 2022)