Tall, round-bellied Ollie the ogre’s unsuccessful attempts to cultivate a talent lead him to doubt his ability to participate in the local talent show.
Rhyming text is accompanied by colorful, cartoonish illustrations that depict a world in which humans, animals, and folkloric creatures appear to live in harmony. The characters’ expressive faces anchor the uncertainty and dismay that Ollie’s friends experience as they try (and fail) to teach him their respective special skills. It soon appears evident that Ollie’s ogreish strength (pun intended) may in fact be his weakness, but an unexpected turn of events demonstrates how everyone in a community has something important to offer. The story itself treads a well-worn path, however, and the generic characters are never fully developed. Readers may be entertained by Ollie’s dismal training sessions and later success and fame, yet the origins or relevance of his fervent desire to be onstage at all remain frustratingly unanswered throughout the book. Ollie’s face and hands are furless while the rest of his body is covered in a turquoise pelt; while humans of various skin tones occupy this world, the humanoid characters, like Ollie, present white.
A slapstick celebration of the process of discovering and honoring what makes us and our friends unique—in a decidedly less-than-unique vehicle. (Picture book. 3-7)