CM . . .
. Volume XXI Number 17. . . .January 9, 2015
Youngsters may have already met these two characters through their own books, Saffy and Ollie, but now Opal brings them together in Saffy and Ollie. <éi> The book’s opening finds Saffy playing by rolling her rock around on the grass. When Ollie sees what Saffy is doing, the little elephant inquires, “Can I play?”
Saffy’s self-focussed response, an emphatic “No!...It’s my rock”, is followed by more Saffy rock-rolling until the rock becomes stuck in a depression in the ground. Despite Saffy’s best efforts, the rock remains wedged tight, and the young giraffe must seek Ollie’s help in dislodging it, assistance Ollie willingly provides. Lesson learned, Saffy asks Ollie, “Do you still want to play?”, and the two then share the rock by rolling it back and forth between them.
Content-wise, Saffy and Ollie is an ideal book for its intended audience. Sharing their toys is something that many youngsters have difficulty in doing, and, while most children’s toys won’t get stuck in the ground, Opal’s text effectively, but gently, makes its point regarding selfishness vs sharing.
Child and adult readers of other books from the “Simply Small” series will recognize Opal's distinctive illustration style that features heavily outlined cartoon like drawings that occupy double page spreads. These uncluttered illustrations, coupled with the book’s brief text, make Saffy and Ollie a near perfect read for youngsters who are first encountering the world of books.
Dave Jenkinson, CM's editor, lives in Winnipeg, MB.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.