Ollie’s Backpack by Riya Aarini

Ollie’s Backpack by Riya Aarini
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Childrens, Contemporary
Length: Short Story (36 pages)
Age Recommendation: 6+
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

Ollie carries his trusty backpack wherever he goes. Soon enough, his backpack starts to fill with worries! Eventually, Ollie begins to feel the weight of his cares. How does young Ollie handle all his woes, from his broken toy to his wilted sunflower? He learns to let them go! Be a part of Ollie’s heartening journey toward discovering what cares to hold onto and which ones to let go! Pick up this delightfully illustrated early reader for your little worry wart!

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This was such a poetic and thoughtful picture book. Some of the imagery in it made me laugh because of how creative it was. Other scenes made me pause and think of the ways I’ve been guilty of carrying negative experiences around with me longer than I should have. I truly enjoyed seeing how everything unfolded. There was a lot of food for thought included in this storyline, and it showed.

As beautiful as the writing was, I do think it would have benefitted from a clearer explanation of how the things Ollie carried around in his backpack were related to what other children who read about his adventures might worry about. I understood the metaphor well, but I did wonder if the age group it was written for would have the same reaction to it. One additional page of explanation would have been more than enough to drive the narrator’s point home in my opinion.

The ending was well-written. I liked seeing how Ollie reacted to all of the disappointing and hard things that happened to him on this day. Honestly, I would have been just as frustrated as he was if I were in his shoes, so it was interesting to see what he learned from these experiences and how he decided to respond to them.

I’d recommend Ollie’s Backpack to any young, or not so young, reader who carries worries around with them.

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