Kirkus Reviews QR Code


by Josh Selig & illustrated by Little Airplane Productions

Age Range: 3 - 6

Pub Date: April 3rd, 2012
ISBN: 978-1-4027-9070-6
Publisher: Sterling

In this adaptation of the animated short The Olive Branch: Sleep, Red wants to play his "strummy" loudly while Yellow wants to sleep—a situation that leads to a quarrel.

What works as a wordless, one-minute film loses its quirky charm and becomes static and didactic in this treatment. Red and Yellow dwell in the Olive Tree where they mostly live happily together. Or so readers are told; unfortunately, neither the characters nor the nature of their friendship is really established before the conflict is introduced. The text is leaden, and the connection between the characters is not conveyed in the bland illustrations. Their bickering ends in standoff. Instead of an emotional revelation or an acknowledgement of the other’s position, the resolution is somewhat accidental. Following the argument, Red realizes the night is a quieter time and changes his tune to an appropriately soft one. Both Red and Yellow enjoy the sound of this and have the same idea: The song becomes a lullaby for Yellow.

The book contains a worthy message but is disappointingly without nuance. For a more meaningful and engaging story about friendship, conflict and compromise, use Ribbit Rabbit by Candace Ryan, illustrated by Mike Lowery (2010). (Picture book. 3-6)