Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Olivia...and the Missing Toy - For the Nookcolor

I resisted the urge to buy this Olivia book for my daughter...but finally, she won.  She loves Olivia.  I was concerned that this was yet another one of Nickelodeon's books based on the television show, but quickly realized that it is, in fact, an Olivia book by the original author, Ian Falconer.  Phew, what a relief.

Let me start with the book itself, and then move into the format for the Nookcolor, which I am really excited about.  The book is done well, as all of the Olivia books are.

In the beginning of the story, Olivia has a soccer game and asks her mother to make her a new uniform for the game because she doesn't like her green uniform (this actually comes up in the show as well).  While she is waiting for her mother to finish the uniform, she gets bored and plays with her toys.  When her mother finally finishes the uniform, Olivia realizes that her best toy is lost.

While obsessing over her lost toy, Olivia accuses both of her brothers of taking her toy, asking them, "WHAT DID YOU DO WITH MY TOY?"  I really like that in the book, Olivia refers to both of her brothers as "brothers."  This is not the case in the show, and I can't vouch for all of the books, but in the show, she refers to the baby as her brother, and Ian as her little bother.  I really dislike this.  Children are good enough at being mean spirited toward one another, I don't think they need help learning ways to hurt each other.

Olivia gets carried away with her imagination, and starts to hear scary noises and pictures herself carrying candles around looking for what is making this horrible noise.  The pictures in the book become dark and shadowed and Olivia soon finds the source of this noise.  Perry, the dog, has taken Olivia's best toy and chewed it into pieces.

Olivia runs to her parents with the pieces of her favorite toy in tow.  As she shows them what has happened, her mother tries to comfort her, and her father (staying true to daddies everywhere) tries to fix it for her, offering to take her to buy the best toy in the world.

I adore the illustration on the next page, Olivia displays her gratitude by saying, "Oh, thank you, Daddy.  I love you more than anyone."  Olivia's mother has a grim, annoyed look on her face as Daddy soaks up the love, and she is still standing there feeding the baby while the baby gets food all over the place.  This picture says it all.

Olivia decides that even though she is going to get that new toy, its best to fix her old toy since it is her "best toy."  She sews him back up before bed, and then picks out bedtime stories that do not involve dogs.  However, on the last page, Olivia has decided to forgive Perry and the picture shows Olivia in bed asleep with her toy and Perry on either side of her.

This book on the Nookcolor is excellent.  You can either have the story read to you, or you can read it yourself.  I almost didn't click "Read to me," but my daughter insisted.  Wow, was I impressed!  The audio included music for dramatic effect and the narrator's voice at first grated on my nerves, but after listening for a few minutes, I enjoyed the storytelling time.  My daughter was so engrossed that she forgot that she was supposed to turn pages, and I had to either remind her or do it for her.

I must say, I was impressed with this book all around.  I didn't particularly like spending the money on it, I thought it was over priced, but the dramatic effect of the music and reading was worth a few extra bucks.  I'm sure I will be purchasing more Olivia books in the future.

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