Review Blog

Oct 16 2016

Olive of Groves and the right royal romp by Katrina Nannestad

cover image

Ill. by Lucia Masciullo. Harper Collins Children's Books/ABC Books, 2016. ISBN 9780733333712
(Age: 8-12) Recommended. Themes: Humour, Boarding schools, Friendship. Continuing the rollicking series involving the wonderfully loving, kind and generous Olive and her classmates at Mrs Groves' Boarding School for Naughty Boys, Talking Animals and Circus Performers, is this wild romp involving all the weird and wild characters from previous books as well as a visit from the Queen. Because this is a boarding school that defies description, with a Principal who is entirely incompetent, and students who are bizarre in the extreme, the local School Inspector is doing all he can to close down the school that Olive has grown to love. The Queen's visit creates a flurry of activity that is laughably impossible and introduces an advisor sent by the School Inspector to overcome the obvious dysfunction. This book can only be described as mayhem - with flying food, multiple explosions, and an evil and duplicitous pig. Bizarre, curious, uncanny and peculiar antics from all characters are drawn together under the umbrella of Olive's steadying and loving influence. Friendship proves its capacity to overcome all problems.
Nannestad knows how to create a story that kids will enjoy. There is nothing normal or 'mature' about this series, and language is used creatively and artistically to describe characters and events, and the humour is just silly. In fact this book series would make a wonderful cartoon adventure. Although this is the third book in the series it could be read on its own without having read the earlier books, but the flow of misadventure is worth recommending to young readers. Comedic naive illustrations are dotted through the book.
Caroline Hull

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