Katie Saunders, Olive the Alien, The Five Mile Press, Feb 2016, 32pp., $16.95 (hbk), ISBN 9781760066031
This is Katie Saunders’ second, follow-up book about Olive Marshmallow, baby sister to Archie. Olive is inconvenient. She cries, she babbles and falls asleep in Archie’s toys. She is utterly different to him and brings an uncomfortable alien sensation into Archie’s life. It takes a visit from a friend who also has a younger sibling to reassure him that these activities, particularly that of eating socks, are perfectly normal.
This book about coming to terms with family changes is beautifully crafted and designed. The characters, colours, text panels and decorative script speech bubbles are in careful orchestration, with a strong use of white space to hold them together. A nice mix of detail, texture, pattern, chalky line and flat colour allows plenty of action without confusion, as we watch the children at play. They and their toys and pets are charmingly observed and drawn, appealing to the reader with a clear expressive visual language which predominates over the text.
This book shows the reality of family love, down to the last smelly nappy.
Reviewed by Liz Anelli