Olga and the Smelly Thing from Nowhere

Elise Gravel. Harper, $12.99 (176p) ISBN 978-0-06-235126-5
In this offbeat illustrated chapter book, Gravel (The Great Antonio) lets readers peer into the “observation notebook” of a girl named Olga, who adores animals but is none too keen on people. Her best friend is a spider named Rita who lives under the bathroom sink, and her archenemies are her girly neighbors Shalala and Farla, devoted readers of Twerp Girl magazine. The discovery of an odd, smelly creature that looks “like a cross between an inflated hamster and a potato drawn by a three-year-old” gets this “scientist-in-training” working observational overtime. Researching the creature she dubs Meh fills Olga’s days with purpose and her notebook with hilarious quips (“He doesn’t like it when I put a sock on his head.... He’s really scared of bananas”), which Gravel captures in her signature brand of chunky cartooning, accented with red. Readers will get lots of laughs out of the steady stream of gross-out jokes, as well as Olga’s misanthropic humor, though her attitude toward humans softens slightly by book’s end. Ages 8–12. Agent: Lori Nowicki, Painted Words. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 01/09/2017
Release date: 03/01/2017
Genre: Children's
Ebook - 176 pages - 978-0-06-235128-9
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