I borrowed Olga and the Smelly Thing from Nowhere from my friend Britt a month or so ago because we’ve enjoyed Elise Gravel’s picture books; Olga is one of those highly illustrated not-quite-graphic novels, and I was hoping it would be similar but, well, MORE. Well, it is–and it isn’t.
Like Gravel’s picture books, Olga is quirky, funny, and somewhat oddly illustrated (but in a fun way!); with added length, however, plus an animal-focused plot, comes a significant number of references to pee, poop, and farts. Some of that could hardly be avoided, of course, since dealing with an animal means dealing with its bodily functions. Ultimately, however, it felt like Gravel wasn’t trying as hard to branch out a bit as I wanted her to. I will say that none of the bodily functions references are thrown in quite gratuitously–they all connect to Olga and her pursuit of animal science, so to speak–I just kind of wanted fewer of them. Bottom line? If my kids find it themselves and want to read it, I won’t stop them, but I’m not going to purposefully put it in their books piles when they have so many other books to read.*
*Olga IS fun. No question. So if you weren’t raised by an old-fashioned, incredibly-picky-about-that-sort-of-thing mother, you’re probably fine. Let me know what you think!