cover image Olive and the Embarrassing Gift

Olive and the Embarrassing Gift

Tor Freeman. Candlewick/Templar, $15.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-7636-7406-9

Olive the cat continues to comically navigate the perils of friendship in her third book, following Olive and the Big Secret and Olive and the Bad Mood. This time, Olive’s friend Joe the turtle presents her with a knit cap festooned with hearts that reads “best friends” (Joe has a matching hat, adding to Olive’s mortification). “I’m not sure it’s quite hat weather today,” Olive ventures, after buddy Ziggy snorts at the sight of them. “Well, it’s not really that sort of hat,” Joe reassures her. “It’s more of an everyday hat!” After Joe catches Olive trashing the gift, she casts her dignity aside to win back her friend. Freeman tackles a highly relatable quandary—who among us has not known the horror of unwanted knitwear?—while using sly humor and knowing dialogue to keep the story emotionally true yet free of pedagogy. Ages 4–8. (Oct.)