Review Blog

Jul 23 2017

Olga and the smelly thing from nowhere by Elise Gravel

cover image

Harper Collins, 2017. ISBN 9780062351265
(Age: 7-9) Themes: Pets, Science Research. Olga and the Smelly Thing from Nowhere is a notebook novel combining easy-to-read text with red, pink and black cartoon graphics. The protagonist Olga is an unusual quirky character, who wants to be an animal scientist; in fact, she prefers animals to humans. She takes her scientific role seriously, using an inquiry-based learning style, documenting her findings in her notebook. Many bathroom humour jokes, descriptions of bodily functions and cartoons of peeing and pooping add to the humour and silliness of this story.
When Olga discovers an unusual animal that looks a cross between an inflated hamster and a three-year-old's drawing of a potato, which smells really bad, she takes it home and hides it in her bedroom. In her observation notebook she records the creature's features, actions, noises 'meh' and 'dowdowdow' when panicked. Olga tries to discover what kind of animal it is by trying to take it into the library with the help of Ms. Swoop, the tattooed punk librarian. After an interesting encounter at the dog park, where they meet Chuck a small dog with a bladder problem, they visit Mr. Hoopah's corner store. He sells a unique assortment of products including nacho-scented toilet paper, cans of live flies and meatloaf nail polish. After experimenting with some very bizarre foods, Meh the Olgamus Ridiculus falls into a bowl of olives that is his favourite. There are mean girls who transform Meh after kidnapping him, plenty of scientific observations, olive recipes and a hunt for the missing pet involving a small dog and many pee breaks.
Elise Gravel's junior novel Olga and the Smelly Thing from Nowhere is a fun story, with many bathroom humour jokes, descriptions of bodily functions and cartoons of peeing and pooping that add to the humour and silliness of this story.
Rhyllis Bignell

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