Hello, friends! Our book today is Ollie And The Wishing Stone, written by Tony J. Perri and illustrated by David K. Ridgeway, a tale of courage, friendship, and selflessness.
Ollie is a woodchuck, the only one to ever answer the question of whether or not a woodchuck could chuck wood. You see, Ollie grew up hearing tales of an ancient tree in his forest that hides a magical stone within its trunk, one that could grant a single wish to the animal that found it. Ollie knew that he would wish for friends, of which he has none, or smaller front teeth, as his own large teeth are the subject of much teasing by the other animals. Setting off on a quest to locate the tree and the stone, it’s not long before he runs into a lost and frightened porcupine named Lila. Promising to protect her and return her to her family, Ollie pauses his quest to find the pair shelter from a thunderstorm, only for a series of rapid-fire events to put Lila in danger! And when Ollie summons the courage to keep his promise, he may find that what makes him different is also what makes him special, and that doing the right thing is often its own reward.
Very sweet. While the writing itself shows room for improvement, struggling a bit with pacing and tone, the story itself is unique and well-constructed. When the time comes for Ollie to choose between his own wishes and doing the right thing for Lila, he doesn’t hesitate, and it’s a tender moment; the fact that the tale of his courage and selflessness also draws friends to him is a pleasant surprise that still feels earned and organic. The illustrations are a tad uneven, with Ollie and Lila designed in a more cartoonish fashion while many of their fellow animals are drawn true-to-life. It also relies a little heavily on shadow, keeping the colors of the forest from popping, and hiding crucial details. However, the length was fine, and JJ very much enjoyed the story, especially the climactic lightning strike and learning the word “woodchuck”. A bit rough around the edges, but hides a gem of a fable within – Baby Bookworm approved!
(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by the author in exchange for an honest review.)