The Very Busy Life of Olaf and Venus by Pierre Pratt
The Very Busy Life of Olaf and Venus
by Pierre Pratt
Topics: places, animals
Car is one of four board books that describe the busy life of Olaf the elephant and Venus the mouse. In this story, the friends hop in the car, a cheery red convertible, and take a ride to the beach, naming objects and animal pals as they go.
The four books share a common format: the left page has a single word (all nouns) and there's an illustration of the named item with a white background. The right page has the item in a complete scene with Olaf and Venus, who are interacting with the item in some way (pointing to the sun, waving to a bird, spashing in the sea). The format is a great way to help younger children learn vocabulary, leaving no room for confusion as to what item is being labled. The format is also great for children who are just starting to sightread.
The brightly colored illustrations clearly convey Olaf and Venus's 'joie de vivre' in everything they do. There's instant charm from the big difference in size between them and they make all their activities seem exciting, whether they are going to the beach, shopping for shoes, or simply having a snack.
The other books in the series are Home, Shopping, and Park. Here's a spread from Shopping that shows the page layout - the book shop is their last stop:
In Home, Olaf invites Venus over to his place to share a cheese dinner and a sleepover and in Park, the friends take a picnic to the park. The four books are all wonderful and would make a wonderful gift set. They're also in a 6..25 x 6.25 board book format, just the right size for little ones.
Pierre Pratt grew up in Montreal and has won many awards for his wonderful children's book illustrations. He uses oil pastels and acrylic for his illustrations.