Olga: We're Out of Here! by Elise Gravel, 192 pp, RL 4
Last year I reviewed Olga and the Smelly Thing From Nowhere, the debut novel by picture book author and illustrator extraordinaire, Elise Gravel. I was already enamored of Gravel's picture books, The Cranky Ballerina, especially, and fell completely in love with Olga. Olga is a self-described grumpy grouch with a passion for animals and scientific research. In fact, these novels are presented as Olga's observation notebooks. In Olga and the Smelly Thing From Nowhere, Olga discovers a strange creature in her shed (after following a trail of rainbow colored, glow-in-the-dark poop) and names it Meh, after the sound it makes. Making observations, Olga then sets off to learn more about what kind of species Meh could possibly be by heading to the library. Olga makes a new friend, has a run in with mean girls, throws a party and ends with Observation #32, "Some humans are okay after all."
In Book 2, Olga: We're Out of Here, which is dedicated to Jane Goodall, Olga decides that it's time to leave all the annoying humans and their annoying habits, like throwing trash everywhere, "forgetting" to pick up their dog's poo, and making fun of, "people with different body shapes or skin color," behind. Fueling her decision is Meh, a new species Olga has named, "Olgamus Ridiculus," who she is sure comes from another planet. This means more scientific research on space, space travel, consulting with not one, but two librarians, and a discussion with Chuck, Olga's new friend and owner of Mister, the "ugliest canine specimen in the whole universe." But, when Meh's behavior (and stink) changes drastically, Olga focuses on discovering what is ailing Meh. There is a visit to Mr. Hoopah and his Stuff 'N' Things 'N' More emporium of strange foods (spaghetti-and-meatball-flavored lollipops) and other oddities like Sloth Fight and Slug Race, old video games no one ever wants. There is a viewing of Olga's favorite movie, E.T., and also an upsetting visit to the vet (and that stomach churning moment when you have to sign the paper giving the vet permission to do anything to save your pet). And, Meh goes missing again. Olga: We're Out of Here ends with a marvelous surprise that, hopefully, sets up another book in this series!
Elise Gravel has a marvelous Boutique page on her website where, in addition to having the option to buy some really cool things she has created like vinyl wallpaper, wall decals, night lights and signed prints, you can also find FREE printable stuff and a free eBook called Artsy Boys and Smelly Girls! I very much appreciate Gravel's perspective and passions, as well as the straightforward way she communicates important ideas (visually and verbally) with her young audience.
Source: Review Copy