Ollie on Stage

Sleeping Bear. Mar. 2019. 32p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781585364015.
PreS-Gr 2–Ollie the ogre yearns to be in the talent show, despite having never performed before. In a desperate bid to make it on stage, he attempts to emulate the fortes of his friends, but the results are disastrous. Instead of tap-dancing with aplomb like leprechaun Lou, Ollie’s heavy stomps crash through the floor. When he tries to sing a duet with Benny the bird, his booming, off-key notes cause eardrums to ring, and his robust ballet moves send Sylvie the fairy flying into the rafters. With his dreams of being in the spotlight dashed, the big blue monster lashes out in frustration. King’s cartoon illustrations show Ollie (who has human-looking hands and large ears sprouting hair) throwing his weight around, uprooting trees and tossing boulders, while his friends flee. The rhyming text has lots of enthusiastic exclamation marks and stumbles in spots: “Oh no!” Benny cried. A tree Ollie had tossed/was about to crash down on Ben’s head!/ It jerked Ollie back to his senses at last/when he saw his friend cringing in dread.” Catching and tossing large objects proves to be Ollie’s unique and crowd-pleasing talent.
VERDICT A serviceable picture book about knowing your own strengths

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