Werner Stejskal’s Oliver and Jumpy is a picture book series geared towards preschool and primary readers. For this review, I read Stories 7-9.
Oliver, the main character, is a cat who lives in Sillandia, where one “can never be sure of anything!” (Loc 8 of 41). Illustrated by Marvin Alonso in Stories 7 and 8 and by Mayeee Ann Reyes in Story 9, Oliver brings to mind Tom of Tom and Jerry, only with a more agreeable personality.
His friend Jumpy, a kangaroo, appears only in Story 7, and aids Oliver in the building of a snowman on an unusual day in Sillandia when it snows.
The vivid colors used in the illustrations is pleasing as well as the plot in Story 7. My problem was with the question asked of the young reader, “Are you jealous?” (Loc 20 of 41) by the narrator Oliver at the end of Story 7. With the negative connotation associated with the term “jealous,” I think the question would have been better served eliminated entirely for in the next sentence, “I hope you will soon be able to race down a slope too and feel the cold” (Loc 21 of 41), the positive tone of the picture book reappears and concludes the reading.
Again, in Story 8, perhaps the term “chasing” would have been a better choice versus “stalking” as in Loc 23 of 41 considering the reader target audience of preschoolers and primary children.
The lessons Oliver learns from his Mum in Story 8 are essential as in looking both ways before crossing and educational as in watching the sky for eagles as a small animal.
In Story 8, the English teacher within cringed at the grammatical error, “Do you ever getting muddy?” (Loc 30 of 41).
As for Story 9: Egging, I think the moral of the story was intended to support the idea of loving one another unconditionally regardless of appearance as Oliver ends up hatching a dinosaur, but I think this message is lost in the concluding sentence of the story, “Maybe you will get lucky and get a weird creature too!” (Loc 40 of 41).
At the conclusion of the three stories, Mr. Stejskal invites story suggestions from readers along with an e-mail address which would be an authentic way to further encourage a child’s imagination and love of reading.