Olive of Groves – Katrina Nannestad

Olive of Groves – Katrina Nannestad

Title: Olive of Groves
Author: Katrina Nannestad
Genre: Children’s Fiction
Publisher: HarperCollins
Publication Date: 19th October 2015
Pages: 272
Rating: 4/5 stars

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Olive has always dreamed of attending boarding school, but Mrs Groves’ Boarding School for Naughty Boys, Talking Animals and Circus Performers is not what she expected. To tell the truth, dear reader, it is not what anyone expected!

The headmistress is completely bonkers and Pig McKenzie, school bully and all-round nasty swine, is determined to make Olive’s life unbearable.

Olive, however, is clever, sweet and kind, and soon gains the loyalty and devotion of three rats, a short-sighted moose, a compulsive liar and a goose who faints at the sight of cherries.

But will friendship and wits be enough when Pig McKenzie puts his Truly Wicked Plan into gear? Or will Olive be cast out of Groves forever?

I haven’t read a lot of children’s fiction recently, but working in a bookstore I have definitely wanted to! And Olive of Groves was a great place to start – cute and quirky, and with gorgeous illustrations, I loved every second!

Olive is a sensible and practical little girl, who wants to go to school. There isn’t a school in the village she lives in with Granny and Pop because she is the only child there! They have done an excellent job of home-schooling their granddaughter but they want her to mingle with children her own age! When the brochure for Mrs Groves’ Boarding School arrives, it looks like their dreams have come true! Only a lizard had chewed off the last part about the school being for ‘Naughty Boys, Talking Animals and Circus Performers’.

Mrs Groves is afraid of little girls, having had a terrible experience with them at her own school and won’t accept Olive until she proves herself an acrobat. Olive wears her long johns to acrobat practice because she doesn’t have a leotard. Her roommates are a massive help, and also very adorable – Wordsworth is obsessed with words, Chester loves buttons and Blimp is incredibly enthusiastic; and all three are mice.

The book is absolutely adorable and the cute illustrations add so much to the story! It will be perfect for any little girl who adores animals and loves the idea of boarding school!

There were a few truly fantastic moments where the author breaks the fourth wall. My favourite was this section (apologies for the length):

What a Nasty, Horrid Pig! What a Hideous Lump of Lard! What a Low-Down, Dirty, Rotten, Putrid, Scheming Scoundrel. What a –

‘Enough!’ cried Olive, although, to be honest, I am not sure whether she was addressing the pig or myself. I do get a little carried away a times. Words are such delightful things to play with. It is quite fascinating how a selective string of words can create an emotional cloud so vivid that the reader –

‘Enough!’ cried Olive again.

It is a truly beautiful book, and will make a brilliant Christmas present for primary school-aged girls! It will be my top recommendation at the book store! It reminded me a little of the Enid Blyton boarding school books, but for a younger audience. Olive is loveable, all her friends are gorgeous and the evil Pig McKenzie is a totally brilliant villain, taking cues from Napoleon of Animal Farm  fame. An excellent read for kids and adults alike.

Do you like reading children’s books? What are some of your favourites?

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