cover image Oliver


Birgitta Sif. Candlewick, $16.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-7636-6247-9

Bespectacled Oliver is a loner, and his loyal stuffed animals make good companions for most of his solitary activities. In muted shades of gray and lavender, newcomer Sif draws Oliver riding on a cardboard box at the head of a line of toys, each perched on its own sofa pillow: “They searched for treasure and rode camels through the desert.” Oliver’s preference for solitude is highlighted by his surroundings—while Oliver does his own thing at the pool, library, or dining room, everyone around him is grouped in twos and threes, holding hands, making eye contact, and reading or playing together. Yet sometimes Oliver needs something that he can’t get from his stuffed animals: “One evening, he played the piano for his friends, but no one listened.” Oliver’s discovery of a friend who’s been there all along (and who can be seen in many of the spreads with her own stuffed toy) is predictable, but Sif has a firm grasp of the possibilities of the picture book form, and her debut’s gentle humor promises good work to come. Ages 4–8. (Oct.)