Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Olive and the Bad Mood by Tor Freeman (Brubaker, Ford and Friends)

"Oh dear, SOMEONE got out of the wrong side of bed this morning!" You'll hear this phrase uttered quite often at ReadItDaddy Towers. Usually it's Daddy who, after being woken at 5 am on a non-school / work day, might have reason to be a little truculent but it's definitely something we all do from time to time.

Olive is a cat who starts off the book with a series of fairly insignificant but thoroughly annoying little irritations that build her bad mood. As the best bosses will tell you, it's a pity to waste a bad mood by putting up with it on your own so Olive heads out into the neighbourhood. Meeting her friends along the way, she leaves a path of grumpy devastation in her wake.

Tor Freeman is THE children's illustrator to turn to for bringing brilliant expressions to animal characters. You are left in no doubt that Olive is really dreadfully grumpy when you see the cover, and as she meets her happy friends on her travels, their expressions turn from child-like joy at whatever they're busying themselves with to frowning, gurning grumpiness.

Charlotte loved Matt, with his rather stylish hat but when Olive is in a bad mood, she trashes Matt's fashion sense and leaves him jumping up and down in annoyance. Poor Matt!

This is a brilliant book to read aloud. No one does triumphant indignation like Daddy when he's on a roll, and it's great to put yourself into Olive's (unlaced) shoes and stomp around the room reading "Olive and the Bad Mood" out loud. "I"m not shouting! I'm exclaiming!"

Of course, a bad mood (or a book about a bad mood) can't last forever, and as Olive slowly cheers up (aided and abetted by the best sweets in the world ever, jelly worms, YUM!) she wonders why all her friends seem to be so miserable. Tsk, some people!

Loved this from start to finish, as much as we loved Tor's other recent triumph "The Toucan Brothers". Perhaps there's something comforting and - dare we say it - rather enjoyable about reading a book where someone is having a thoroughly rotten day when it's not you, but if you are having one or your children are, read this to them and with them and it's guaranteed to put a big silly grin on your face by the end. If it doesn't, nip round to your local sweetshop and bag yourself a huge quantity of Jelly Worms because they will almost certainly work instead.

Charlotte's best bit: She really loved Matt. So stylish, and she was so upset when poor Matt ended up jumping up and down on his hat, grumpily. Naughty Olive!

Daddy's favourite bit: Love Olive to bits, her expressions, her put-downs, her downright infectious grumpiness. Tor's animal characters rock my world.

(Kindly sent to us for review by Brubaker, Ford and Friends / Templar Publishing)