Book Review: Olaf Reads
Publisher: Dial Press
Length: about 60 pages
Illustrations: colored drawings by Harvey Weiss
Quote: “There was no mailbox there. But there was a basket. The sign on the basket said Put Litter Here. ‘I can read,’ said Olaf. ‘But they can’t spell.’”
That’s one of three funny misadventures Olaf has while learning to read. At the end of the book, he still assures his mother, “You don’t have to read to me any more. Now I’ll read to you.”
Wonderfully psychedelic endpapers, vintage costumes and vehicles, make the illustrations almost as much of a treat for adults as the stories will be for kindergarten and primary school readers.
My copy was only recently discarded from a public library. It’s been enjoyed by a reasonable number of children, but, from the fact that it’s still in good condition, you can tell that this is not one of the truly great picture books four-to-seven-year-olds wear out fast.
Joan Lexau is, according to Google, well over age 80 but still living in upstate New York, so this is a Fair Trade Book (but for how long?). She's written several other easy-reader books, some for the Hooked On Phonics series. Most are available online for lower individual prices, but if you send $5 per book + $5 per package to either address in the lower left-hand corner of this screen, you get two special benefits: (1) Since these are short, thin books, you could probably get ten into one package for a total cost of $55, which might work out to a better deal than you'd get from sites that charge less per book but more for shipping; and (2) Lexau or a charity of her choice would receive $1 per book (yes, that would mean $10 if you ordered ten different titles). If you are buying books for a primary school, Sunday School, Imagination Library or similar collection, do not miss this opportunity to get Striped Ice Cream, Archimedes Takes a Bath, Crocodile and Hen, and other easy-reading books cheap and also show due respect to their author.