Ronojoy Ghosh, Ollie and the Wind, Random House, 1 September 2015, 32pp., $24.99 (hbk) ISBN 9780857988485
Is the wind being naughty or playful as it whips off with Ollie’s scarf, hat and balloon? Ollie and the Wind is a sweet story of observation, experiment and discovery as a young child is left to his own devices on a windy island to make his own fun.
This is a book where the illustrations take centre stage and the simple yet rich text illuminates the pictures. The two characters in the story are cute and cheery Ollie with his flushed cheeks and freckles, and the cheeky wind. Ghosh has effectively personified the wind as a playmate for Ollie.
Ghosh’s distinctive illustration style brings a playfulness to the story: blocks of colour in a collage- like arrangement with texture and interest added by differentiated small line strokes, in a ‘hatching’ style. The blue, green and gold colour pallet perfectly suits the chilly and windy island setting (I didn’t get the sense of sunny Australian beaches). Combining the limited colour pallet with a variety of subtly textured or flat backgrounds, Ghosh brings to life the environmental forces. Splashes of rusty red draw the reader’s attention to Ollie and his things.
This is a highly original book to promote discussion around environmental and friendship themes. The teacher’s resources on the publisher’s website are a good reference point for ideas to start these discussions.
Reviewed by Debra Tidball