Following the formula established in Ben Loves Bear (2013), Bella Loves Bunny (2013), and Peter Loves Penguin (2014), McPhail here completes his board-book tour of the seasons.
A little girl moves through an autumn day with her well-loved stuffed owl, picking apples and playing in piles of colorful leaves. Tired after this simple adventure, Olivia goes inside to wish upon a star and drift off to sleep, guarded by her vigilant friend roosting at the foot of the bed. Simple text contrasts Olivia’s and Owl's activities. That the owl is a toy is initially unclear, but any child who has a beloved stuffed companion will quickly recognize the bond between the two. Unlike the other children featured in the series, who are all blond and white, Olivia's race and ethnicity are unclear. Her skin is light brown; her dark brown hair is pulled into thick, curly pigtails. Her toys, shown on the first spread, are refreshingly androgynous. Apparently she plays with trucks and blocks as well as dolls and stuffed animals. These choices make this offering accessible to a broad range of children. The image of Olivia reading in bed before drifting off to sleep will warm the hearts of book-loving adults.
McPhail's soft but unsentimental pen-and-ink drawings completed with muted watercolors strike a pleasant balance between real toddler activities and imaginative play. (Board book. 1-4)