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OLIVER by Christopher Franceschelli


by Christopher Franceschelli

Age Range: 4 - 8

Pub Date: March 1st, 2011
ISBN: 978-1-935954-01-9
Publisher: Lemniscaat USA

Picture-book minimalism is taken to an almost unnatural extreme with this avant-garde presentation of a very familiar concept.

Against a pure-white background sits a single photographed image alongside large letters reading, "Oliver was an egg." Readers see him in his pre-hatched state from all sides, together with the text. Oliver remains an egg until the book opens to reveal a thick ribbon threaded between the pages. On the first of these spreads, the egg sits on the ribbon. Turn the page, and the ribbon pulls open to reveal a sweet yellow chick next to a simple legend: "everything changed." The book indulges in an urbane kind of humor, and there is admittedly something sublime in its matter-of-fact, “There was really nothing he could do about it,” when discussing Oliver’s situation. The photographs in this book are also so perfect in detail that it’s impossible not to want to feel the chick’s downy fluff. That said, it’s difficult to see what besides the novelty of the ribbon will appeal to children about this story. The presentation feels wholly adult, and children will find little here to recommend more than a single read.

The back of the book proclaims that what happens in this story is "[b]ecause miracles happen." Children may not be so sure. (Picture book. 4-8)