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4.19  ·  Rating Details ·  619 Ratings  ·  128 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
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published October 9th 2012 by Candlewick Press (first published October 1st 2012)
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(showing 1-30)
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Sep 27, 2015 Basma rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
Can't stress enough how lovely the art is. Seriously. I know all my comments on children's books are about the art, but it does play a major role in experiencing the book -at least to me it is. The ending was quite expected, I wish it was different but it's still cute.
Not a long review, just a short one to express my thoughts.

This book sounded interesting, but in the end I was mostly bored. I just couldn't connect with Oliver (I found him strange and awkward, and yes, I know he was supposed to be all different and the likes, but for me he just felt like a boy who didn't want to grow up and check out the world around him). The story was also pretty boring. Just Oliver going on his daily life, reading books, playing with his dolls/plushies/whatever and then mag
Mar 02, 2013 Caroline rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
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
Nov 11, 2012 Peg rated it it was amazing
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
Nov 01, 2012 Erin rated it really liked it
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
Nov 24, 2012 Lorna rated it really liked it
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."
Aug 30, 2012 Jen rated it it was amazing
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!
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.
Mar 29, 2016 Julia rated it really liked it
Shelves: childrens, 2016
Cute story about an introverted and "different" young boy who finds companionship with an introverted and "different" young girl.

I liked the artwork and the message. Great for beginning readers.
Feb 15, 2013 Megan rated it really liked it
Super cute. Reminds me!
Rachel Smith
Jun 10, 2017 Rachel Smith rated it really liked it
Really loved how inclusive this book is. I feel like it would be great for kids with disabilities or even more introverted personalities to show they're not alone.
Homegrown Reader
Dec 14, 2016 Homegrown Reader rated it it was amazing
Shelves: childrens-books
When I was 12, we moved about 40 minutes away. Far enough, that I couldn’t visit often without being a huge hassle. I felt out of place in my new home. Although honestly I hadn’t really fit in at my old school either but I was friends with others who didn’t fit in, so it didn’t really matter. For three or four years, I just haunted the library. I felt comfortable and relaxed there and though I already had a good relationship with reading it cemented how priceless books can be. I’m much better no ...more
Nov 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Sep 05, 2012 Tasha rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
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
Wendy Hirst
Feb 16, 2015 Wendy Hirst rated it it was amazing
I was sent a lovely book called Oliver by Brigitta Sif from walker books . It’s one of those books you know as you read the first page you can relate to it.
The story is about a little boy called Oliver who enjoys in his own solitude. His friends are his puppets and stuffed toys. Oliver is different. Straight away I connected with the character as my children are different and play very much in their own world due to be autistic. They are unable to make sense of the world around them as they are
Emily Stueven
Jan 19, 2013 Emily Stueven rated it really liked it
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
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
Amy Forrester
Mar 07, 2014 Amy Forrester rated it it was amazing
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
Jan 10, 2013 Joella rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-book, friends
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.

Jan 07, 2014 Karen rated it it was amazing
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
Sep 06, 2015 Anne rated it really liked it
A part of me really loved this book. It is beautifully drawn and truly well written. A lovely story all around. I applaud seeing characters with social differences in kid lit too. The ending though didn't work for me - it was hopeful, but overly simplified. I don't think kids will understand the subtlety. There is also a bit of a mixed message in the art - Oliver is seen as both unhappy to be a loner and unaware/content that he is a loner. I found it confusing. My 5 y.o. did not care for this bo ...more
Jun 03, 2014 Kelly rated it it was amazing
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
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
Little Bamboo
Aug 21, 2016 Little Bamboo rated it it was amazing
I believe the book is simply misunderstood and that's the whole point of the story anyway; about a boy who loves solitude and being in his own world. I like the idea that it leaves more to the readers' imagination. The sentences used are quite short enabling kids to be consumed more by the beautiful, beautiful illustrations.

My son and I love the fact that the book allows us to discuss more through the pictures, creating stories of our own, rather than simply following the words one at the time.
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
Dec 19, 2012 Kelsey rated it really liked it
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
Barbara Band
Apr 21, 2014 Barbara Band rated it it was amazing
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
Jennie Smith
Jul 09, 2013 Jennie Smith rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2013-challenge
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
Dec 18, 2012 Samantha rated it really liked it
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.
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
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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.
More about Birgitta Sif...

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