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Olivia Kidney

Olivia Kidney

4.6 13
by Ellen Potter, Peter Reynolds (Illustrator)

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Olivia Kidney has just moved to another new apartment building, and Olivia?s the new kid in school, again. Olivia thinks she?s fed up with new places . . . until she gets a look at her building! Sure, it looks normal from the outside, but inside things are crazy. There are talking lizards crawling everywhere. An exiled princess haunts the hallways, and Olivia finds


Olivia Kidney has just moved to another new apartment building, and Olivia?s the new kid in school, again. Olivia thinks she?s fed up with new places . . . until she gets a look at her building! Sure, it looks normal from the outside, but inside things are crazy. There are talking lizards crawling everywhere. An exiled princess haunts the hallways, and Olivia finds one apartment made entirely of glass! She?s meeting fantastical characters and seeing wondrous sights that make Alice?s Adventures in Wonderland seem tame. But among all the ghosts and pirates and princesses, can Olivia find a friend?

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
At once exuberant and poignant, PotterÆs cunningly crafted first novel [is] a memorable debut. (Publishers Weekly, starred review)
Publishers Weekly
Locked out of her new apartment, a 12-year-old makes astonishing discoveries about her neighbors. "Achieving a delicate balance between fantasy and stark reality, the author leaves it to readers to form their own interpretations of Olivia's experiences," said PW in a starred review. Ages 8-up. (Oct.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Join a lonely young girl, Olivia, on her journey as she ventures through her new apartment building where she lives with her dad who is the new superintendent. She has experienced living at many different complexes due to her father's inadequacies with his job, along with recently losing her brother to cancer, and her mother ran away, too. Olivia has lost her keys or someone took them, and she is unable to get into her apartment. She waits outside her door where she meets a new friend Branwell, who quickly leaves to take care of his family. She senses that he seems different to her, but she doesn't focus on that thought. While she looks for her father on her travels on some of the floors, she meets various tenants who have their own story to tell—a princess living in an all-glass apartment, two mean girls who are her age, a woman who wears talking lizards around her neck who lives in a tropical setting, a mother who wants to become a medium, and Branwell who is a ghost. Her father finally comes and finds her in the sub-basement level and takes her home. Back in their apartment, he talks about how things used to be and how he wants to try and get back to normal with one another since her brother's death. This is one of the first times that Olivia doesn't feel so alone in a long time. When she goes to bed she starts to hear static from her radio and soon hears her brother talking to her from his grave to let her know he is okay and to be sure to take care of their dad, and that he is always looking out for her. The text is strongly connected throughout the book all the way to the final page, and may leave the reader empathizing with Olivia along and shedding a couple of tears. Theblack-and-white, cartoon-like illustrations accompany the story well. This is a fun and enchanting read that keeps the reader on the edge of her/his seat until the very end along with helping to expand imaginations. Great for both boys and girls, especially those who are reluctant to read. 2003, Philomel Books,
— Christy Oestreich
School Library Journal
Gr 3-6-Olivia Kidney's building superintendent father has just moved them to yet another new apartment building in New York City. One day, 12-year-old Olivia loses her key, and in her efforts to gain entrance to the building she meets a number of the strange residents. During the course of the day, Olivia meets a ghost who is a friendly boy her own age, a woman whose floors are made entirely of glass so that she can spy unnoticed on neighbors below, two intense and unpleasant girls, a sinister ex-pirate and an elderly siren to whom he is in servitude who live in an apartment resembling a tropical rainforest. Olivia is invited into their homes, and they tell her their stories. Olivia reveals the fact that she is lonely and unhappy since her brother died of cancer and her mother left the family. A visiting psychic named Madame Brenda tells Olivia that if she listens carefully enough, she will hear her brother speaking to her. Are these all just the fantastic imaginings of a sad girl? Listeners will immediately be drawn into this novel by Ellen Potter (Philomel, 2003). Narrator Tara Sands's voice is child-like and effectively conveys Olivia's changing perceptions. The quirky tale is wonderfully served by Sands' ability to portray a variety of characters and deliver humor in appropriately dry tones. This inventive, unusual, and poignant audiobook will spark lots of interesting discussions.-B. Allison Gray, John Jermain Memorial Library, Sag Harbor, NY Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Olivia's father has just become the superintendent of a New York City apartment building filled with particularly strange people. One woman has a glass floor that provides a perfect view of the apartment below. There is also an inept fortune-teller, a ghostly boy, and a particular nasty pair living in a recreated rainforest. Has Olivia really stumbled on an alternate world or is it all the invention of a desperately lonely child? Potter does not establish that sense of peculiar logic that is necessary to a successful fantasy. Here the events and characters are dependent on coincidence and manipulation. It succeeds somewhat better as Olivia's story, but any true understanding of her pain is lost in the too-facile dénouement. Reynolds's computer-generated comic-book-style drawings are intrusive and add nothing to the plot or mood. Disappointing. (Fiction. 10-12)

Product Details

Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.10(w) x 7.80(h) x 0.40(d)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher
At once exuberant and poignant, Potter's cunningly crafted first novel [is] a memorable debut. (Publishers Weekly, starred review)

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Olivia Kidney 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Olivia Kidney is DEFINITELY the best book I have ever read. In the first few minutes after I cracked it open, I literally got whisked away into the whimsical world of Olivia. I felt sadness along with her after finding out about her brother, triumph as she discovers secrets and brings everyone back together. If you are a fan of fiction and fantasy, and of being entertained, you HAVE to read this book.
meandmom12 More than 1 year ago
This book is great.olivia is so unique.There are so many crazy and fun characters,so many cool settings,and a very heartwarming plot.It's a recipe for a great book.
J_Kaye_s_Book_Blog More than 1 year ago
Olivia Kidney's father only flaw is he can't seem to keep his job as a building superintendent. And every time he loses his job, they have to move. This means, Olivia has to switch schools. To make things worse, his latest job is at a hotel where her neighbors are unfriendly. <br/> One day, she returned from school but found out that she lost her apartment keys. While she waits for her father to come home, a series of events happen and a whole new world opens up. But, the biggest thing of all is Olivia can see and hear things that not everyone else can. <br/> This is the second book I've read by Ellen Potter. Her books are different and unusual - I just love them! I can't wait to read more.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
' My friends and I have a book club and we all read the series and every chapter our mouths dropped. Ellen Potter also wrote Pish Posh so you should read that too!?' Enjoy.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Olivia Kidney is the best book in the world. I love it!! I is so fun!! If you are looking for a book for ages 8-12 it is great!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Okay, so my mom was in England, and she brought me back this book, but then I'm like, oh, this looks really boring. But then i read it and then I'm like WOW! I WORSHIP ELLEN POTTER! LET ME BOW AT HER FEET!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was zany yet extrenely cool with adventure and mystery that never stops. I recommend it for any one who happens to enjoy a full blast of fun. For ages 9 to 100. I anticipated for the day when the seuel would come.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I just want to express my concern that this book is recommended for ages 8 and up. The book contains some pretty violent images and many references to the occult (seances, pyschics, ghosts) and I strongly urge parents of younger children (those under 10 certainly) to steer clear of this story and it disturbing tale.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is the only Olivia Kidney I have read and I thought it was an awesome book. In some ways I can relate to Olivia (thats my name) and I think it is cool how Ms. Potter connected all of the characters in the story together.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is the best read I've enjoyed all year. It's easy to get wrapped up and spend a few hours reading it straight through. Olivia is a lovable, lonely 12-year-old who has moved with her dad, a sweet but inept building superintendent, to yet another in a series of New York City apartment buildings (dad's always getting fired). This time they're in a building with some rather weird tenants. Olivia gets to know a lot of them one afternoon when she has lost her keys. She has some pretty wild, and sometimes scary, adventures with them. I'm sure you'll enjoy this book. My friend's 15-year-old daughter loves it, as do some of my 30-something and 40-something friends, both male and female -- anyone with appreciation for a vividly told tale. The author, Ellen Potter, sure has an active imagination. We await the sequel to 'Olivia Kidney' just as much as we do the next 'Harry Potter' installment. (We hope there is a sequel!) It's hard to believe this is Ms. Potter's first book. She really is fabulous.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a terrific book for kids from about 9-14. The writing reminds me of a kind of American Roald Dahl. This is a very funny book that I think will appeal to all kids, especially those who live in apartment buildings themselves. Whether the story is a fantasy or a child's imagining isn't really very important. The episodes in the book are magical and at the same time touch issues in every child's life. My 11 year old really liked the book and so did I. It does have some scary scenes so its not for younger kids, but otherwise highly recommended!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This isn't actually a review, just a correction. The author of Olivia Kidney is Ellen Potter. Peter Reynolds is the illustrator. Thanks