Five lively dogs and a not-so-far-away adventure take center stage in this rhyming picture book.
A dog named Olly and his canine pals make up a rambunctious crew that causes amusing mischief wherever they go. One day, Olly gets it in his head to take an inflated rubber raft out to sea and travel to the United States. The other dogs wisely remain on shore, content to munch the sausages they’ve just nicked from a nearby butcher’s shop. Intrepid Olly won’t be dissuaded, however, and sets off happily—until he finds himself alone in a predicament, portrayed in a wordless, two-page illustration of deep blue-green water, an empty raft, and no land nearby. Olly must summon all his courage and his swimming expertise to get himself out of trouble. This Australian import, originally published in German, features a bit of specialized vocabulary (“crew,” “dinghy”) and potentially unfamiliar colloquialisms (“brilliant,” “might and main”), along with an occasionally stilted rhyming scheme (“saw” and “shore” don’t really rhyme in much American English)—but Olly’s pluck will be familiar to children everywhere. The bright, expressive illustrations are delightful, each spread alternating between classic vignettes and full-page scenes that are immersive and dramatic and often full of interesting details. The pen-and-ink style makes for approachable and easily decoded pictures, befitting the simple story.
For children who leap before they look, an adventure of a dog on a boat in a book. (Picture book. 3-5)