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4.21 of 5 stars 4.21  ·  rating details  ·  326 ratings  ·  92 reviews
An imaginative child who doesn’t quite fit in finds a kindred spirit in this utterly charming picture book from a debut author-illustrator.

Oliver is different. He enjoys his solitude. He likes playing with his friends, who are puppets, stuffed animals, and other toys. With his rich imagination, Oliver’s day is never dull. There are bridges to cross, sharks to fight, and tr...more
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published October 9th 2012 by Candlewick Press (first published October 1st 2012)
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I loved this picture book about a boy, Oliver, who feels different from everyone else so he spends most of his time alone reading and dreaming...until a chance occurrence introduces him to Olivia. Oliver and Olivia become friends and "it was the beginning of the best adventure he'd ever had." The artwork is lovely in muted colors, and the characters in the book are quirky and odd--a wonderful reminder that we are all odd, and different, in our own way.

The text is simple enough that it could wor...more
This is a little gem! I love everything about the book--the art and the text are fantastic! Oliver's okay with his doing things differently and usually by himself. His imagination fills his world, until one day when he feels different and discovers a friend, who is also a little different herself. The illustrations have a muted tone, but add some humor to Oliver and his surroundings. This gentle story would be a great conversation/discussion starter about differences between people. It would be...more
In a very simple style, Sif tells the story of Oliver who's a little different. He has good times and great adventures with his friends who are really stuffed animals and puppets. He is perfectly happy doing things all by himself. He never even thinks about doing anything with other people until he meets Olivia. She is a little different, too.

Good for storytimes. Also, great for young ones trying to understand autism. Oliver may or may not have autism. He just doesn't have a problem with being...more
Amy Musser
Oliver was a bit different, but most of the time he didn’t care. His friends, an assortment of stuffed animals and hand puppets, are there for him when he wants to go on an adventure. Over time, Oliver wants to do more things that his friends can’t do. You can’t play tennis with a puppet and the toys didn’t seem as enthusiastic about his piano playing anymore. However, everything changes the day Oliver and his friends chase an errant tennis ball to the house next door. There Oliver meets Olivia....more
A lovely story of a boy who prefers to play by himself until an unplanned event introduces him to a new friend. Fun illustrations have a lot of cute details that will have the reader lingering over the page spreads. Text captures well the solitude that some kids need.

Quote: "And sometimes, wherever he was, he wanted to fly away."
SOOOOOOO CUTE! This was a lovely story about being unique and figuring out how to share that with someone else. The illustrations are fabulous!Don't forget to go back and examine all the pictures once you've read the story!
Ashley Saunders
Sif, B. (2012). Oliver. Somerville, MA: Candlewick Press.

Picture Book Soak

This wonderful book tells the story about a boy that is very different from others around him. He is very content being by himself until he realizes he is all alone. Towards the end of the book Oliver finds a friend and they begin a new friendship. I would use this book in my classroom to show students that being different is not a bad thing. The illustrations remind me a lot of Tim Burton cartoons. This is mainly due to t...more
Oliver reminds me of my son, and I'm reading this at work (library) and trying not to cry at my desk. Amazing illustrations and great story.
Kelly Tromburg Frisk
Pale green endpapers with framed pictures of Oliver, and various animals. The author has returned to her native homeland of Iceland and produced this gem of a story about a boy who feels different than the rest until he meets a soul mate with his same interests and imagination. The illustrations are mostly full-bleed with some cutout narrative illustrations as well. Oliver's friends are his books and his puppets.I love the middle opening with the tennis ball bouncing away. Great anticipation bui...more
Oliver lives in a world of his own, reading stories and having adventures with his imaginary friends. Then one day his life changes when he meets Olivia, who also lives in a world of her own with her imaginary friends.

I'm biased towards any book that's about reading and books and libraries but this is a delightful tale about being different, accepting who you are and finding somebody just like you. And the illustrations are gorgeous: strange, gentle, muted colours; lots of detail to explore; an...more
Super cute. Reminds me of...me!
Oliver was different than everyone else. He spent time in his own little world, visited only by his friends who were his toys and puppets. They played endlessly together, having adventures across the living room. When his family got together, Oliver played by himself under the table, wishing that he didn’t have to be there at all. Then there was the day when he played the piano for his friends, but no one bothered to listen. Oliver felt different all over again. The next day though, when playing...more
Introverts have it tough. Sadly, since the world is made up of a greater percentage of extroverts who make it harder for quieter voices to be heard and understood, anyone who doesn’t quite fit the outgoing, social-butterfly mould is often ostracised for being ‘shy’, ‘a loner’, or just plain weird — and made to feel almost apologetic for being the way they are. For kids, especially, it can be hard to feel — and/or be teased for being — different, especially since it’s so much easier to blend in a...more
Oliver is a bit different. He seems to be quite the introvert, preferring to play quietly on his own with his stuffed animals reading, putting on a puppet show, having tremendous adventures inside his imagination rather than dive into a crowd of people. One day as he's playing tennis against the side of his house (I did this many times, myself), the ball flies over his head and bounces away, through a narrow gate. Oliver steps through the gate and into the best adventure he's ever had; beyond th...more
My five-year-old son picked this book out from our local library yesterday.

Oliver is a perfectly told story. It is beautifully paced and flows. It has a strong beginning, climax and ending (or second beginning). There are exactly the right number of words on the pages for bedtime reading. It is everything I would look for in a picture book, except the actual story itself.

Had I read the synopsis, "This is a picture book about a lonely boy who plays with puppets," I would have left the book on t...more
Joella www.cinjoella.com
Oliver is a bit different. He likes playing with his finger puppets. He likes reading books. He likes going on imaginary adventures. He likes being different, but one day he feels different. His puppet and stuffed friends don’t really listen as he plays the piano. Then when he is playing tennis by himself his ball bounced to a neighbor’s yard. And he discovered…he wasn’t that different after all. Olivia liked puppets, reading, playing pretend and all the same unusual things that Oliver liked.

Emily Stueven
Oliver is a loner, his only friends a trio of stuffed animals. He goes on many adventures with these friends--to the library, through the sandbox (though the friends must sit on the sidelines at the swimming pool)--but he finds himself a little lonely for human company sometimes.

Birgitta Sif tells Oliver's story sweetly and without a sense of pity for the boy. She celebrates his quirkiness and will not let him settle for a friend who is not his idiosyncratic equal.

The illustrations are fun and...more
The Styling Librarian
Oliver by Birgitta Sif - 2013 – new to me book, love it! Oliver feels like he is different but has friends who he interacts with, but those friends (puppets and stuffed animals) have their limits. Love the conclusion of the book, quite special. Great to share with students who don’t feel like they fit in… Glad this is part of the Golden Dragon Book Award program!
Nanci Booher
Such a great story. Oliver is a bit different. He thinks differently, wants to do different things until he meets Olivia. Then he finds someone who wants to dot he same things as him. A story about acceptance and friendship!
Oliver is a bit different. His friends are puppets and stuffed toys--until he accidentally discovers Olivia who's a little bit different, too. Nice message - That it's possible for everyone to find a friend.
Mrs. Knott
Sweet story about a little boy who is closer to his puppets than a friend his age... until he meets another friend that is similar.
Absolutely great for a kid whose imagination- or even anxiety- makes them feel a little different from others.
Jillian Heise
A story of being comfortable with one's own self, friendship, loneliness, and finding a kindred spirit.
Age: Preschool+

A perfect perspective on friendship for socially-distant kids that choose to be alone but may benefit from one special friend that shares in their uniqueness. From the beginning, we don't feel sorry for Oliver because he is content alone. When he wants a friend to communicate with, we are happy that he finds one, just as different as he is. I appreciated that it was Oliver's choice to find a person friend, not society or grown-ups.

The book's beauty lies in the short length (so it...more
Miss Pippi the Librarian
What adventures Oliver has with his friends. They climb mountains, jump rivers, and so much more, but Oliver was a bit different. He played with his little friends and no one played with him. Oliver begins to play by himself until one day he meets Olivia.

Shy guys, introverts, and quiet keepers will appreciate this story. Large gatherings are not fun. Dreaming of adventures with their own imagination is better. Sometimes it's lonely, but no one seems to understand. Don't worry! One day, a friend...more
I like the message about staying true to one's likes and interests. This story is like Odd Duck.
Oliver is different. He marches to the beat of his own drum. One day, he meets a friend; a friend who is different too.

Pencil illustrations colored digitally in a earth tone palette add a lot to the story. Text is simple and makes room for the illustrations to fill in the blanks regarding how Oliver spends his time etc. I love the page in which the sky changes color when Oliver meets his kindred spirit. It complements the text well and brings a smile to your face as well as warmth to your heart....more
Oliver is a bit different. But it's mostly okay -- he has puppet friends, and books, and quite an imagination. There are times he feels lonely though. One day, playing tennis alone, he follows the bouncing ball to a new adventure. And meets Olivia, who is a bit different too.

There is a lot going on in Sif's illustrations (pencil and colored digitally) -- many details to look at. I particularly appreciate the illustration of Oliver and Olivia behind the puppet stage at the end, puppets arcing tow...more
Jennie Smith
Oliver doesn't quite fit in. I am sure that we have all been there. He is his own person and seems quite content with that until one day he finds out that maybe he isn't really alone after all. This is one of my new favorites. It breaks down what so many children (and by children I mean those anywhere from three to one hundred and three) deal with every day on simple terms. I love the lesson learned here. Oliver never apologizes for who he is and in turn learns that it is just fine! Beautifully...more
Nov 28, 2012 Dolly rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
Shelves: 2012, childrens, library
This is a wonderful tale about embracing your individuality and that there's always someone out there for everyone, no matter how different you are. The story is a bit predictable, but it's nice and helps children to understand that it's okay to have different likes and dislikes compared to 'everyone' else.

The illustrations are muted, and they complement the story nicely. I love that Oliver is depicted in the library - I'm a sucker for any book that includes a library. Overall, we thoguht this...more
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Birgitta Sif studied art and design in the United States and worked as a children’s book designer at several publishers before moving to England to study illustration. She calls Oliver, her first book, "the beginning of the best journey I’ve ever taken." Recently she returned to live in her native Reykjavík, Iceland.
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