cover image Ollie's Odyssey

Ollie's Odyssey

William Joyce. S&S/Atheneum/Dlouhy, $17.99 (304p) ISBN 978-1-4424-7355-3

Joyce (the Guardians of Childhood series) delivers a delicious remix of classic movie and storybook themes: imprisoned toys, talking junkyard friends, and a doll lost a generation ago. Six-and-a-half-year-old Billy returns from a family wedding to find that his beloved stuffed toy, Ollie, is gone. Readers know that he has been abducted by miniature mechanical henchmen and taken to the lair of Zozo, an eerie clown ruined by his own bitterness. Timid Ollie manages to escape and even spies Billy for a moment, only to find himself tossed away. Has Billy renounced him? In a rousing climax, Ollie and his loyal junkyard allies overcome Zozo and free the toys: "Okay," he tells his troops, "Our plan is gonna be: do some Robin Hood, and some Use the Force Luke, and some Trojan Horse, and some... Yellow Submarine." Though tense moments abound in this all-boy adventure, it's always clear that Billy and Ollie will prevail. Joyce's irresistible illustrations and joyous wordplay ("I am the Grand High Safemaster of Planet Billy," Ollie tells himself) are icing on the cake. Ages 7%E2%80%9311. Agent: Michael Siegel, Michael Siegel & Associates. (Apr.)