Gravel, Elise. Olga and the Smelly Thing From Nowhere
March 14th 2017 by HarperCollins
ARC from the publisher at ALA
Olga loves animals of all kings, so when she finds one that looks like a cross between a potato and a hamster, she takes it home and hides it in her room, even though it smells really bad. She tries to find out what it is, even trying to take it into the library past the suspicious eyes of Ms. Swoop, the tattooed punk librarian. With the help of a local store owner, Mr. Hoopah, she does discover that Meh (as she names it) loves to eat olives. When Meh goes missing, she enlists the aid of Chuck, who has a small dog with an overactive bladder. They find the Olgamus in an unlikely place, but are just glad to have the strange animal back and to have made some friends along the way.
Strengths: This is a notebook novel, which means that it could be about anything and some of my reluctant readers would check it out.
Weaknesses: This was super weird, and mentioned farts and pee more than it needed to. Also, it bothered me that Olga had Captain Crunch eyes-- they are drawn over top of her hair in the same way that Captain Crunch's eyes are drawn on his hat.
What I really think: I will probably buy a copy, and students will check it out, but it certainly was not anything that I liked. It feels like letting children eat weird, off brand Pop Tarts from China or Israel for breakfast. You know, the kind you can get at Odd Lots that come in flavors like persimmon or loquat.