This engaging beginning reader uses comic-book conventions and a Hawaiian setting to invite emergent readers into the story of odd-couple friends Ollie and Moon.
Cartoonish cats Ollie and Moon look like they’ve stepped from an animated television series of their own, but they are original creations for this series. Accompanied by their silent, snail sidekick, Stanley, they play the sunny days away. Ollie likes to try new games, while Moon prefers to consult her many lists to come up with familiar activities. Humor abounds in all scenarios, achieved through narrative text, speech-balloon dialogue and downright goofy pictorial antics. The one major drawback in the book is its lack of artistic cohesion: Backgrounds sometimes employ photographs of lush, Hawaiian beachscapes, which, though consistent with series format, may prove distracting rather than enriching. Mo Willems’ work in the Knuffle Bunny picture books avoids such missteps with sepia-toned photographic backdrops that allow the characters to pop out, but in Kredensor’s work, the effect of full-color backgrounds is overwhelming. Far more successful are those pictures that have clean, white backgrounds—especially given the need to provide ample resting space for eyes new to decoding text and navigating the dynamic between words and pictures.
Nevertheless, the merits of this title will have new readers saying mahalo for a joyful, exuberant friendship story. (Early reader. 6-9)