What Ollie Saw

Joukje Akveld, trans. from the Dutch by Bill Nagelkerke, illus. by Sieb Posthuma. Levine Querido, $14.99 (56p) ISBN 978-1-64614-039-8
This Dutch fantasy centers a young pig who sees differently from those around him. Posthuma’s ink-and-wash drawings, putting off strong William Steig vibes, show Ollie and his family on a train excursion (his mother calls these outings “Happy Family Time”). Ollie’s easily bored sister dismisses the cows she spots in the countryside: “How dull,” she grumbles. Ollie, however, sees water buffalo, with “hooves that could squash any sister.” On another outing, stuck in traffic, she groans. “You might be older,” Ollie thinks to himself, “and bigger. But you don’t see clearly.” Amid the sea of cars, Ollie spots a parade with mice acrobats and trained seals. Suspicions grow that Ollie’s eyesight is the problem. His teacher shows the class alphabet charts; Ollie sees birds and whales. Does Ollie really need glasses? Or is he just a pig who sees the world his own way? Posthuma’s subversive drawings are full of snarky mirth: Ollie’s sister’s “grizzling” is all the funnier for being spoken by a pig in a dainty dress and pearls. In a fine translation by Nagelkerke, Akveld champions staying true to oneself, no matter what others indicate those letters on the eye chart are. Ages 5–9. (Apr.)
Reviewed on : 02/10/2021
Release date: 04/01/2021
Genre: Children's
Compact Disc - 978-1-6620-8307-5
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