Books by Olivia Holmes

THE KNOT IN THE TRACKS by Roberto Piumini
Released: March 1, 1994

First published in Italy in 1982, an original tale about the heroic efforts of Petrushka, a solitary watchman on the Trans- Siberian Railroad, to keep the track free for the weekly train. His antagonist is a blue-black, wing-eared demon, Rashka, who literally ties the tracks in knots, then demands orange and mint tea—only available a three days' walk south—before he'll undo the mischief. Petrushka completes this quest in time to avert a wreck, only to find, a month later, the tracks knotted once again. This time, Rashka sets him an even more difficult task; but further trouble is averted when, having shut his big ears against Petrushka's cries to the saints, the demon is run over by a train he doesn't hear coming. Fedorov, who lives in Moscow, makes his US debut with illustrations that are strikingly akin to Barbara Cooney's, with romantic landscapes adorned with delicate wildflowers and the loyal, earnest watchman depicted in a cozily detailed rustic home. An entertaining choice to use with an older group. (Picture book. 5-10) Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 21, 1991

When a sparrow lands on one end of his pole, a tightrope walker pleads, ``Heaven help me!'' Bumbling Saint Tony happens to be on duty in Heaven's emergency room; he sends a second sparrow for the other end of the pole, but the first sparrow flies over to make friends with the second. The saint adds a pigeon to the other side, but then the sparrows fly away together; he sends a cat to oust the pigeon—and so on through a preposterous series of ever larger animals, only concluded when the saint's replacement arrives. Root captures this comically vertiginous balancing act with some flair; his designs are imaginative, though their execution is a bit sturdy for the frothy, entertaining story. (Picture book. 4-8) Read full book review >