Roberta Baker, , illus. by Debbie Tilley. . Little, Brown, $14.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-316-07336-3

Extrovert-par-excellence Olive Elizabeth Julia Jerome gets plenty of encouragement from her proud parents. "She's no ordinary Olive," her father says when Olive performs playground stunts or fixes a gourmet breakfast of "bubble gum–raisin pancakes." At Stickler Street School, on the other hand, Olive's shenanigans aren't as well received. She makes classmates snicker by disrupting a lesson and, after being scolded, she redecorates the principal's desk in a jungle theme. Although the outraged principal "turn[s] salmon pink, then maroon," Olive's teachers praise her creativity, and in return Olive "tries to be patient, gentle and calm—everything that grown-ups tell her to be." Baker hesitates to show Olive being reprimanded for her unusual ideas; the book vacillates on the issue of discipline and gives the sense that enforced conformity could crush Olive's unique personality. In frenetic watercolor illustrations and nervous tics of ink that suggest nonstop movement, Tilley (Dinosaur Dinner [With a Slice of Alligator Pie]) implies Olive's electric engagement with science, art and music. Olive begs comparison with Jack Gantos's over-the-edge Joey Pigza, but Baker and Tilley celebrate Olive's vibrancy and remind readers that "it's hard to be patient with the world racing by." Ages 4-8. (Apr.)