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FICTION

Ollie and Augustus

Candlewick. May 2020. 40p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781536209679.
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PreS-Gr 2–Ollie and his dog Augustus enjoy doing everything together, from painting and dress up to tree climbing and stick collecting. When Ollie starts school, he worries about his best friend and attempts to find Augustus a canine friend “with a sense of humor, similar interests, and a passion for stick collecting.” In the end, despite Ollie’s worries, it turns out Augustus has exactly what he needs. Evans’s pencil, watercolor, and gouache illustrations have a distinctive sketched texture that imbues the illustrations with charm and motion, from Ollie’s unruly hair to the wagging tails of Augustus’s many friend applicants. Augustus’s large size adds to the whimsy of Evans’s inviting illustrations. A very restrained color palatte paired with crisp white backgrounds complements the story’s focus on Ollie and Augustus and their more quiet and contemplative pursuits, like sunset watching and Friday nights at home. Front and back end papers show a collection of additional scrapbook moments of Augustus and Ollie. This sweet tale of irreplaceable friendship will appeal to both dog lovers and readers who are, like Ollie, thoughtful worriers and more inclined to one very good friend and quiet times together.
VERDICT A warmly illustrated, tender story recommended for all who are heading off to school and leaving a best friend at home.

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