'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Wednesday 25 September 2019

Review: Ollie & Augustus

Starting school can be a nerve-racking experience for most. But what if you're also worried about your best friend and how they'll cope without you?

Gabriel Evans has created a delightful picture book for pet lovers with the perfect blend of sweetness and humour.

Ollie is only small — like a pickling jar or a shoebox — but he is sure his large dog, Augustus, will be lonely without him when he goes to school. After all, they do almost everything together, from painting and people watching to digging and stick collecting.

So Ollie sets out to find a companion for Augustus, another dog with similar interests. It turns out, however, that Augustus is quite unique in his hobbies and finds no interest in the other dogs, with their sniffing and licking and shedding.

The reassuring ending reveals Augustus is just fine without Ollie and spends his day keeping busy, happy in the knowledge that his best friend will be back.

Gabriel's loose-line drawings are deceptively simple, exuding warmth and character on every page. Ollie's small size and big determination will be reassuring for younger readers, while the endearing Augustus offers comic relief with his sheer size, facial expressions and resolute affection.

The sepia palette, especially in the endpapers, captures the strength of the friendship and the memories they've created, but is punctuated with occasional pops of colour in pencil and watercolour for a playful touch.

Gabriel's accomplished balance between words and pictures highlights the true magic that can be created in a picture book. Highly recommended.

Title: Ollie & Augustus
Author/Illustrator: Gabriel Evans
Publisher: Walker Books, $26.99
Publication Date: September 2019
Format: Hard Cover
ISBN: 9781760650711
For ages: 2+
Type: Picture Book