Olga and the Smelly Thing from Nowhere

illus. by Elise Gravel. 176p. ebook available. HarperCollins. Mar. 2017. Tr $12.99. ISBN 9780062351265.
Gr 2–5—Olga is a socially awkward, animal-loving kid scientist (and an expert on animal poop). She finds that critters are far more interesting than people. In fact, Olga's only friend is the spider that lives under the bathroom sink, but he is not very cuddly and doesn't talk much. Luckily for Olga, she discovers an unknown creature that she dubs olgamus ridiculus, otherwise know as Meh. Olga embarks on a quest to understand her new friend better, but that leads her away from the safe haven of her home. As Olga tries to learn what her new pet eats, she meets some interesting people, a far cry from the irritating ones she normally encounters. For fans of "Dork Diaries" and "Captain Underpants," Olga will be a big hit. The story is embedded with comical illustrations, speech bubbles, charts, and pictures showing Olga's quirky and sometimes judgmental personality. Kids will devour the toilet humor along with the quick one-liners Olga throws out. As readers get deeper into the plot, themes of peer pressure and being oneself emerge, giving the goofy tale a little depth.
VERDICT Chuckle-worthy and fun, this is a great purchase for fans of heavily illustrated chapter books.

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