Ollie, the main character of the ‘I Love…’ series from Anna Walker is an androgynous striped zebra. Or ‘everychild’ in a pyjama suit. In previous outings, Ollie has loved his Mum and his Dad. Ollie also likes holidays and Christmas, to sing and to dance. Ollie even has his own ‘I Love Ollie’ font that’s used for his stories. I Love My Grandmais about Ollie spending a day with Grandma at her house. They have a picnic, a singalong and a bath. And all the while Grandma is knitting.
At Grandpa’s house, Ollie and Grandpa are ready for a day of gardening. Ollie helps as only a small child can, as they weed and harvest in Grandpa’s vegetable garden. At the end of the day, the two share dinner and a chat and then doze off in the chair. Illustrations are watercolour with lots of white space. Endpapers depicting a child’s drawing of the day’s activities echo the colours on the front cover and spine. And cuddles. Both Grandma and Grandpa offer the best of cuddles.
Each of the ‘I Love…’ books tells the story of a day with Ollie, from Ollie’s point of view. Text is simple, with the illustrations illuminating the words and reflecting a sometimes different story. But they are full of the simple joys of just being. As with previous offerings in this series, children will enjoy Ollie’s adventures and adults will appreciate the relationships depicted. Ollie is full of life and curiosity and love. These are small format almost square hardback picture books, sure to be a favourite with littlies and with their families.
I Love My Grandma, Anna Walker Scholastic 2010
I Love My Grandpa, Anna Walker
review by Claire Saxby, Children’s Author