Hello, friends! Our book today is Imagine That: A Hoot & Olive Story by Jonathan D. Voss, a tale of a rainy day in need of some inspiration.
Little girl Olive and her stuffed owl Hoot are best of friends. Olive has a big heart and big imagination; Hoot has a matching heart, but his imagination, well… When Olive proposes a slew of imaginary adventures during a rainy indoor day, Hoot just cannot seem to get his imagination working. Has his imagination been lost or stolen? Is his “imaginator” broken? Olive makes it her mission to help her friend find the joy of imagination within him – but can they find it if Hoot can’t imagine where to look?
This is the second Hoot & Olive book, and it shares that same dreamy, slightly detached tone that it’s prequel did; bringing to mind Winnie The Pooh’s narrative style, Olive’s interactions with Hoot are matter-of-fact and adorably authoritative with just hints of melancholy and sentimentality. It’s a type of tone that works especially well here: both Hoot’s and Olive’s concern for his faulty imagination and their practical theories and solutions in trying to recover it are endearing for readers of all ages. And Hoot does recover his imagination, once Olive remembers that imagination comes from the heart; it’s a sweet but slightly problematic resolution, especially for kids with ASD who have trouble interpreting the world in any way other than literally, and could imply that they simply lack heart. The best feature by far are the rich and gorgeous illustrations, dynamic in scale and tone, and with an incredible command of light and shadow (a wonderful touch is an imaginary giant who bears more than a passing resemblance to Dahl’s BFG). The length is fine and JJ liked it; overall a sweet friendship tale with a few stumbles, but a great deal of genuine heart. Baby Bookworm approved.
(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)