Me, Oliver Bright, by Megan De Kanztow

I live in a city by the sea
Oliver Bright
the World, the galaxy
the Universe

Oliver Bright has an assignment to do. Oliver is in Year 3 and his assignment is to look at his family history. He shares his life, the life of his father and that of his grandfather. The reader learns about Oliver, but also about the changes across the three generations. For Oliver, getting milk is as easy as driving to the shops. For his dad, it was even easier – the milkman brought milk to his door daily. For his grandfather though, it was a bit tougher. His grandfather had to ride his horse to catch the cow and then milk it. Me, Oliver Bright is laid out like a school assignment with sketches and photos alongside Oliver’s handwritten words. ‘Oliver’ uses coloured pencils to jazz up his assignment, adding stars, stickers and even postcards.

Me, Oliver Bright features a main character who at about nine years of age might seem a little older than usual for a picture book. But with the mixture of ‘his’ drawings, photos and postcards, there is broad appeal for readers who can compare Oliver and his family’s experience with their own. Teachers too may use this book to model family history to their class. Observances are recorded without any interpretation, so the reader can decide for themselves which generation had it easiest. It’s certainly easier to buy milk now, but Grandpa had a wider variety of animals in his life. Dad had the freedom to roam and explore with his dog, while Grandad seemed to work all the time. There are plenty of discussion points here, whether between father and child, or class and teacher. Recommended for lower primary school.

Me, Oliver Bright

Me, Oliver Bright, Megan De Kantzow ill Sally Rippin
Omnibus Books 2009
ISBN: 9781862917156

review by Claire Saxby, Children’s Author

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