Oliver
  • Oliver
  • Oliver

Oliver

by Birgitta Sif
     
 

An imaginative child who doesn’t quite fit in finds a kindred spirit in this utterly charming picture book from a debut author-illustrator.

Oliver is different. He enjoys his solitude. He likes playing with his friends, who are puppets, stuffed animals, and other toys. With his rich imagination, Oliver’s day is never dull. There are bridges to

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Overview

An imaginative child who doesn’t quite fit in finds a kindred spirit in this utterly charming picture book from a debut author-illustrator.

Oliver is different. He enjoys his solitude. He likes playing with his friends, who are puppets, stuffed animals, and other toys. With his rich imagination, Oliver’s day is never dull. There are bridges to cross, sharks to fight, and treasures to find! But maybe toys don’t always give a boy everything he needs. Maybe he needs another kind of companion. Will Oliver discover a way to be, well, different? When his tennis ball rolls across the lawn into the yard of the girl next door, he just might be surprised.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Bespectacled Oliver is a loner, and his loyal stuffed animals make good companions for most of his solitary activities. In muted shades of gray and lavender, newcomer Sif draws Oliver riding on a cardboard box at the head of a line of toys, each perched on its own sofa pillow: “They searched for treasure and rode camels through the desert.” Oliver’s preference for solitude is highlighted by his surroundings—while Oliver does his own thing at the pool, library, or dining room, everyone around him is grouped in twos and threes, holding hands, making eye contact, and reading or playing together. Yet sometimes Oliver needs something that he can’t get from his stuffed animals: “One evening, he played the piano for his friends, but no one listened.” Oliver’s discovery of a friend who’s been there all along (and who can be seen in many of the spreads with her own stuffed toy) is predictable, but Sif has a firm grasp of the possibilities of the picture book form, and her debut’s gentle humor promises good work to come. Ages 4–8. (Oct.)
From the Publisher
A lovely gift—aglow with warmth and welcome—for those who feel, or have ever felt, different.
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
Children's Literature - Remy Dou
Being an only child can feel strange at times. There is usually no one around to play with or share adventures. But that does not stop Oliver. He has a great imagination, and he and his toy friends traverse deserts together, battle sharks, and jump over oceans. Some activities, though, are not so fun alone, like playing the piano to an empty room. Sif helps her readers explore the facets of being by yourself or feeling a little bit different. Her easy-to-read text highlights the simple, but heartfelt style of her writing. Even more impressive are Sif's illustrations. Hidden details and themes abound, making this a book readers could return to repeatedly and always finding some new element to enjoy. Indeed, Sif is a magnificent illustrator, and her unique pencil drawings stand out. While the conclusion could have been developed a little more to strengthen the emotional connection with the reader, it still satisfies. In the end, Oliver meets Olivia, and he realizes he is not the only one that feels a little bit different. Reviewer: Remy Dou
School Library Journal
.PreS-Gr 1—A rhythmic narrative introduces bespectacled Oliver, a child who "felt a bit different" and prefers the company of his stuffed animals, puppets, and a mouse to that of other children. He and his "friends" have grand, imaginary adventures together, often oblivious to the many other people around them. Even so, his solitude is underscored when he swims in the pool alone and when he discovers that his pretend companions aren't necessarily interested in listening to him play the piano. Then, Oliver's tennis ball, which he hits against the wall of his house, bounces into the neighbor's yard where he meets Olivia, also "a bit different." The two children discover the pleasure of lobbing the tennis ball to each other over a clothesline-and the "best adventure" of Oliver's new friendship begins. Whimsical pencil illustrations, digitally colored in a palette of subdued greens, blues, lavenders, and browns, evoke Oliver's surroundings and his own idiosyncrasies in humorous detail. While the story line starts out engagingly enough, Oliver's development into a more companionable youngster is thin and rather arbitrary. Still, paired with Peter Reynolds's I'm Here (S & S, 2011), this picture book could be a useful tool to engender discussion about human differences and the satisfaction of friendship, especially for those who are shy or feel "a bit different."—Kathleen Finn, St. Francis Xavier School, Winooski, VT
Kirkus Reviews
A delightful tale about a boy who is different and his discovery of a kindred spirit, gracefully written to celebrate dreamers and readers--and those who need not change to find friends. Oliver lives happily in his imagination; puppets and toys are his constant companions. Together, they brave deserts by cardboard box, cross treacherous couch bridges and dig to distant lands. Then, one day Oliver begins to feel different. A lost ball takes him through a new gate, where, against a pink sky, he meets Olivia. "It was the beginning of the best adventure he'd ever had." It doesn't matter that Oliver is different, because "Olivia [is] a bit different too." Like artists such as Lane Smith or Tim Burton, Sif has a distinctive style, a particular way of expressing the world that feels like a natural expression of herself. Her pencil drawings are done in a muted, cool-color palette. With Oliver's journey, she takes readers from an urban environment filled with pencil marks and gray images to a sparser, outdoor environment in which her marks are looser and the colors quietly bloom. A lovely gift--aglow with warmth and welcome--for those who feel, or have ever felt, different. (Picture book. 4-8)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780763662479
Publisher:
Candlewick Press
Publication date:
10/09/2012
Pages:
40
Sales rank:
664,763
Product dimensions:
10.10(w) x 10.40(h) x 1.90(d)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

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From the Publisher
A lovely gift—aglow with warmth and welcome—for those who feel, or have ever felt, different.
—Kirkus Reviews

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