________________ CM . . . . Volume XIX Number 10 . . . . November 9, 2012



Ollie. (Simply Small Series).

Paola Opal.
Vancouver, BC: Simply Read Books, 2009.
24 pp., board, $8.95.
ISBN 978-1-897476-12-3.

Preschool / Birth-age 3.

Review by Dave Jenkinson.

*** /4


Dotty (Simply Small Series).

Paola Opal.
Vancouver, BC: Simply Read Books, 2010.
24 pp., board, $8.95.
ISBN 978-1-897476-54-3.

Preschool / Birth-age 3.

Review by Dave Jenkinson.

*** /4


The elephants are
making a path
through the forest.

Mommy and Dottie
are looking for
fresh berries to eat.


internal artOn a hot day, Ollie, a baby elephant, wants to help his mother who is clearing a path through the forest by uprooting trees. Though Ollie tugs and tug and tugs at a tree, he cannot pull it out. His mother, as parents are wont to do when they are working and their "helpful" children are getting in the way, suggests to Ollie that "You go and play."Now, most children would be delighted by being told to go off and play, rather than to work, but Opal shows Ollie's disappointment both via illustration and text, with the former coming through how Ollie's eyes are presented and the latter via how Ollie's walk is described:

Ollie goes down
to the river.

As Ollie plays in the river, he realizes that the water he sprays into the air has a cooling effect on him as it hits his body, and he suddenly realizes how he can assist his mother on this hot day. And so Ollie discovers that "I can be a big help after all."

internal art     In Dotty and her mother's quest to find food, the two encounter a stream, one which Mommy easily jumps over. Dotty could cross the stream by wading across, but she wants to reach the other side without getting wet. Dotty's first jump attempt sees her not even reaching the water, but Mommy encourages her:

          "Keep on trying,"
          says Mommy.
          "You can find a way."

     Observing a bird flying across this water obstacle, Dotty unsuccessfully tries to fly. She then sees a frog hopping from stone to stone across the stream, and, by emulating its behaviour, Dotty arrives dry on the other side.

     Opal's distinctive illustration style that features heavily outlined cartoon-like drawings is again featured. in the books' double page spreads. The uncluttered illustrations are perfect for youngsters who are first encountering the world of books, and they will also appreciate the brief family-centered and child-empowering texts.

Ollie - Highly Recommended.

Dottie - Recommended.

Dave Jenkinson, CM's editor, lives in Winnipeg, MB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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