Tania McCartney and Tina Snerling, Tottie and Dot

EK Books, 2014, ISBN 978-1-921966-49-1

Tottie and Dot live next door to each other. Whatever one of them does, the other does too. They are always side by side. Side by side as they eat their apricot sandwiches, side by side as they water their plants, side by side as they fluff up their angel feather pillows. But then Tottie paints her house mauve, and Dot paints hers pistachio. Tottie adds awnings to hers. Dot pebbles her path. Tottie covers her roof with goose feathers. Dot drapes her eaves with butterfly strings. Soon Tottie has a frog pond and Dot has flamingos. Tottie installs a fair. Dot cooks up a circus. Frowns have replaced the smiles that used to be on their faces. Then everything crashes down. What they need is a simple plan. They sit side by side drinking marshmallow tea. There are flowers and loving notes to each other on their tables, and smiles back on their faces.

This is a morality tale, highlighting in very few words the perils of competitiveness and consumerism and the importance of friendship. The very stylised pastel pictures of Tottie and Dot in their frilly frocks - Tottie's peppermint green, Dot's pink - and their pretty houses will appeal to some girls but certainly not all. Boys are extremely unlikely to go anywhere near. The increasing chaos as Tottie and Dot's competition gets out of hand is amusingly illustrated.