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PRECIOUS & OLIVER

Farmer, Patti
Illustrated by Laurie Stein Toronto, Greey de Pencier Books, 1992. 32pp, laminated board, $14.95, ISBN 0-920775-83-7. Distributed by Firefly Books. CIP.


Grades 1 to 3/Ages 6 to 8

Reviewed by Brenda Partridge

Volume 21 Number 1
1993 January


"Precious and Oliver Mouse love to snuggle. Their favourite time was Sunday after they'd finished a big dinner and a yummy dessert... Oliver would settle into his soft, comfy armchair. Then Precious would settle onto Oliver's soft, comfy lap."

Then one day Precious cannot snuggle because Oliver loses his lap, and when Oliver stands up, the chair sticks to him. The time has come to look at his eating habits. Precious is determined to have Oliver slim and trim again. Oliver eats salad and fresh vegetables and learns to exercise regularly. Precious and Oliver join the Fun and Fitness Dance Club and do the conga. By the following Sunday, Oliver loses enough weight to have Precious snuggle again.

Patti Farmer's story is quite predictable, and offers no surprises. The underlying philosophy of the importance of eating properly is continually eroded by the insinuation that good food is for dieting! The topic is one that is adult-like. Very few children diet and their connection to the story would be with the dieting of their partents. The message is clear eat good food for one week and you can have cherry cheesecake on Sunday.

It is the pictorial presentation of Precious and Oliver that saves this book. Precious and Oliver are three-dimension-like, photographed in their stuffed fabric form and placed on a two-dimensional drawn background, with cut paper accessories. Many hours of work by Laurie Stein have produced interesting effects and results appreciated by Primary level children.

I believe that this book has limited use and appeal for students in grades 1 to 3. I would recommend it as a supplementary purchase only.


Brenda Partridge is a library-resource teacher at Percy Centennial Public School in Warkworth, Ontario
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