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From the Olive Oh series

by Tina Kim ; illustrated by Tiff Bartel

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 2021
ISBN: 978-1-63163-567-0
Publisher: Jolly Fish Press

This young artist is in desperate need of inspiration.

Olive Oh is the youngest in her family. She is bubbly and a bit messy, and she overflows with creativity, which she believes comes from her lucky red beret made by her grandmother. Her days are eventful as she brainstorms innovative strategies to share with her older brother, sister, mother, and grandmother. (Her father passed away when she was a baby.) When her teacher announces a schoolwide art show, Olive is excited at her chance to prove she’s a real artist. However, her lack of ideas, even with the help of her red beret, for the theme “Portraits” grows concerning, especially when her supposedly nonartistic best friend, Marcus Wong, comes up with one before her. As the rest of her peers move forward with their own submissions, Olive starts to question her inspirations and artistic abilities. Eventually some introspection helps her find clarity. Illustrator Bartel provides bold black-and-white cartoons with pops of color that are interspersed throughout the text. Kim touches on themes of identity and family—hers is Korean American, while Marcus’ is Chinese American—while writing characters with plenty of spark and embedding cultural terms within her evenly paced narrative. Readers will be amused as those around Olive are unwittingly drawn into her well-meaning messes. Sequel Olive Oh Saves Saturday publishes simultaneously.

Olive carries this chapter-book series opener with plenty of spunk and heart.

(discussion questions) (Fiction. 6-9)