Olive and the Big Secret

( 1 )

Overview

Olive learns the hard way that keeping secrets is tough, and telling them can make for a whole lot of trouble!

When Molly shares a secret with Olive, the urge to tell is just too great! Olive tells Joe who tells Matt who tells Lola. But Lola is best friends with Molly. Uh-oh, the secret is out, and Olive is in for it!

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Overview

Olive learns the hard way that keeping secrets is tough, and telling them can make for a whole lot of trouble!

When Molly shares a secret with Olive, the urge to tell is just too great! Olive tells Joe who tells Matt who tells Lola. But Lola is best friends with Molly. Uh-oh, the secret is out, and Olive is in for it!

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The instant Molly tells Olive a secret and Olive solemnly swears, “I will never tell,” readers will know it’s really only a matter of time (or pages) before Olive spills. No matter—British author/illustrator Freeman’s brisk storytelling and comically expressive cast of anthropomorphic animals make an all-too-familiar situation feel fresh. Freeman underscores the chain reaction of Molly’s secret being passed from one set of loose lips to another (“This secret was really hard to keep!”) as new locales and players appear with each page turn. The stagelike composition and the characters’ penchant for theatrical gestures (including a spit-take in the swimming pool) keep the mood as light as a French farce while still conveying sympathy for Molly—and empathy for the tough task of being a secret keeper. Even when Molly is allowed her moment of anger, it’s clear that the group’s social fabric is being stretched, not torn asunder. And while Freeman refuses to officially divulge Molly’s secret (“Well, I’d like to tell you, but... IT’S A SECRET!”), hints on the endpapers should satisfy curious readers. Ages 4–7. (Aug.)
From the Publisher
Young children will be riveted by this masterfully paced, puppy-love drama, played out with an array of quirky animals in contemporary comic style. The measure of individuality is each character’s ability to keep a secret. There is the gossipmonger, the one who does not care, the one who tries to keep a secret, and the one who doesn’t... A delightful, surefire conversation starter on the do’s and don’ts of secrets among friends.
—School Library Journal (starred review)

Freeman’s brisk storytelling and comically expressive cast of anthropomorphic animals make an all-too-familiar situation feel fresh...The stagelike composition and the characters’ penchant for theatrical gestures keep the mood as light as a French farce while still conveying sympathy for Molly—and empathy for the tough task of being a secret keeper.
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Children's Literature - Beverley Fahey
Molly tells Olive a secret which Olives vows to never tell. That secret gnaws at Olive until she cannot help herself and she confides in Joe. It isn't long before Joe tells Matt who tells Lola who tells Molly. Of course Molly knows who spilled the beans...Olive! This is a witty take on a common dilemma faced by school age children. Readers will be quick to guess that Olive will tell but that just adds to the fun. The chain reaction moves at a rapid pace with the cartoon illustrations taking center stage in telling the story. The anthropomorphic animals each have a distinct personality and the warmth of their friendship can be seen in Molly's willingness to forgive. So what is Molly's secret? At the end Olive remains mum but furtively invites the reader to turn the page. There a dewy-eyed Molly clearly has a crush on pal Ziggy. Here is fun little read that in an energetic, upbeat style brings home the message of the importance of keeping a secret. Reviewer: Beverley Fahey
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2—Even before the title page, readers see little hearts flowing out of Molly's floppy ears with an onomatopoetic "sigh." The author gives away the secret, but leaves readers with a question. Who does the rabbit like? She whispers the name in Olive's ear, and the cat affirms wide-eyed, "I will never tell." The page layouts are without frames, but grounded horizontally on soft shadows or beautifully rendered on muted backgrounds, allowing the action to run like a relay race through the pages. The secret gets passed from cat to giraffe to badger to turtle, and so on, and readers can chuckle and waggle their fingers witnessing this blatant divulging, astutely expressed with only handfuls of words. Young children will be riveted by this masterfully paced, puppy-love drama, played out with an array of quirky animals in contemporary comic style. The measure of individuality is each character's ability to keep a secret. There is the gossipmonger, the one who does not care, the one who tries to keep a secret, and the one who doesn't. The graphics are bold and childlike, and the font size is large. When it is clear that someone blabbed, Molly goes straight to the source and confronts Olive, who is remorseful, at least for a moment. A delightful, surefire conversation starter on the do's and don'ts of secrets among friends.—Sara Lissa Paulson, American Sign Language and English Lower School, NY
Kirkus Reviews
A simple story of a secret that slips out. Olive hears the secret from Molly. Sorely tempted, Olive manages not to share the information immediately but can't contain herself indefinitely. So she spills the beans to Joe. Joe tells Matt, and Matt tells Bea and Lola. Then Lola hurries off to share the news with her best friend, (wait for it) Molly. Miffed, Molly turns on Olive with a frown. So far readers have remained in the dark as to the exact nature of the secret, though some may have noticed a clue in the illustrations. Although the author coyly refuses to blab, Olive reveals all when she urges readers to peek at the final page. Freeman's straightforward text sets a steady pace and leaves plenty of room for her pictures to expand the action. Each child is shown as a different animal in the carefully composed, mixed-media illustrations, but their pursuits and behavior are entirely human. Rounded bodies, large heads and small extremities emphasize the mild humor and allow emotions to be clearly conveyed. Though the story is slight, some young listeners may enjoy tracing the path the secret travels, while parents will appreciate the opportunity to talk about friendship and trust. (Picture book. 4-7)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780763661496
  • Publisher: Candlewick Press
  • Publication date: 8/14/2012
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 389,523
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Lexile: AD240L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 11.10 (w) x 8.60 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Tor Freeman has been writing and illustrating books for children for more than ten years. She lives in West London.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 15, 2012

    We received this novel as a Goodreads giveaway: When it comes t

    We received this novel as a Goodreads giveaway:

    When it comes to reviewing a book written for a child, I thought what better than going straight to the source? Even better, what if I have both of my kids review it. Oh, that child-like honesty that leaves you never knowing what answers you’ll get!

    I sat down this evening and read the story to my daughters, and then took them one at a time into another room to tell me what they thought about it. I had a few basic questions in my back pocket just to give them a little guidance. The answers below are in their own words. 

    Did you like the book? What were some of your favorite things about it?

    Erica (age 5): Yes. The bunny is really pretty. The book is really special and new and I’m glad we have it. And I liked-ed it when the cat told the secret, but that was a bad thing, but it was funny. I liked-ed the pictures and I feel like I could read it (she doesn’t read yet). And I liked-ed the swimming part too.

    Alycia (age 7): Yes! The pictures are silly. I really like the writing, it’s nice and neat.

    What didn’t you like about the book?

    Erica: I liked-ed everything about the book.

    Alycia: I didn’t like the settings for the drawings. There’s a lot of white on the pages and not a lot of detail in the backgrounds. 

    Who was your favorite character?

    Erica: Cat is my favorite, especially when she is surprised-ed and her hair is falling out. 

    Alycia: The cat was my favorite, and the rabbit. I really like the cat’s clothes. She looks kind of silly. The bunny is cute.

    What did you think of the pictures?

    Erica: The pictures are so pretty.

    Alycia: The drawings are good.

    What did you learn from the story?

    Erica: No telling anyone else’s secrets. And I think that maybe the bunny will marry the monkey. But don’t tell anyone, cuz it’s my secret.

    Alycia: I learned that you should not tell other people’s secrets. 

    They awarded the book with 5 stars!  ::Reviewed by:  Jennifer, Alycia & Erica McGee::

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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