Review Blog

Oct 08 2014

Oliver and George by Peter Carnavas

cover image

New Frontier, 2014. ISBN 9781925059083.
(Age: 4+) Highly recommended. Rivalry, Cooperation, Friendship. The appeal of any book by Peter Carnavas is immediately apparent from the front cover. His unadorned pictorial style grabs the attention of the reader as his illustrations focus on the hub of the story to be found overleaf. Oliver and George are on the front page, one, a bear, engrossed in his book, while the other, a child with skates on his feet, is demanding attention. Just who is Oliver and who George, the cover demands.
Opening we find the boy, Oliver, ready to play, but George is still busy reading his book. Oliver does a number of things to distract George from his reading, throwing a paper plane and kicking his chair, and George gets mad, but then the crossness subsides and he continues reading his book. Oliver tries other things to distract George, but all to no avail, until he reaches out and takes the book. Then George erupts. Consequently a funny twist occurs which makes everything right again.
This is lovely tale of friendship, of recognising each other's needs and their private time, of cooperation and working together, and of resolution. Parents and teachers alike will be able to draw the readers into discussing a range of things about cooperating with their friends, of not being annoying to get their own way, of allowing other people some private space. Children will enjoy the story on one level, but be equally accomplished at realising there are lessons to be learnt. And Carnavas' delightful illustrations are given an airing on the endpapers, adding another level of interest to this wonderful book.
And George's total concentration on his book is a powerful image to have handy when discussing reading.
Fran Knight

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