Ogilvy by Deborah Underwood, illustrated by T.L. McBeth

  Ogilvy by Deborah Underwood, illustrated by T.L. McBeth, Henry Holt, 9781250151766, 2019

Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 5

Format: Hardcover picture book

What did you like about the book?   Ogilvy is the new bunny in town.  Putting on a favorite handknit garment that resembles a long sweater or short dress, tan with a green stripe, the little rabbit sets off to make some friends. But in this town, “bunnies in dresses play ball and knit socks and bunnies in sweaters make art and climb rocks.” Ogilvy likes all these things, but is set upon by a bossy little thing in a pink dress. Is Ogilvy’s outfit a sweater or dress? That’s going to dictate the activity. Clever Ogilvy switches things up; it’s a dress for baseball but a sweater on days Ogilvy would rather draw. When things come to a head, Ogilvy bravely bucks the status quo and rebrands the tan and green outfit an “Ogilvy.” The tagline of the book is “The clothes don’t make the bunny.” Told entirely without masculine or feminine pronouns, this clever rhyming book reads like a modern-day and inclusive Seuss story with cute knitted sweaters (or dresses) Photoshopped onto very simplified but super-expressive bunnies. You can read it as a metaphor for gender nonconformity or as a celebration of all of those who just want to do their own thing. The book design is sensational, with “Ogilvy” in raised, fuzzy print on the front of the book and hundreds of Ogilvy sweaters on the end papers.

Anything you didn’t like about it? Rhyming books are not my favorite, but this one’s punchy rhythm worked. The verse is top notch and I never felt that it was forced or clumsy.

To whom would you recommend this book? With its rolicking rhyme scheme, this would work well as a read aloud in classrooms or families that want to celebrate differences and acceptance. The bunnies would be easy to draw and dress in various sweaters or dresses as a craft activity.

Who should buy this book? Elementary and public libraries.

Where would you shelve it? Picture books

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Yes!

Reviewer: Susan Harari, Keefe Library, Boston Latin School, Boston, MA

Date of review: June 10, 2019


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