Reading level: Ages 4-8
Pages: 32 pages
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR) (April 1, 2003)
Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 9.3 x 0.4 inches
• Bank Street College Best Books of the Year
• Junior Library Guild Selection
First-time fliers will be bolstered by the courage Olvina the hen shows when she takes her maiden plane voyage. Invited to a bird conference, Olvina fears she can't go because all the other birds will be flying to Hawaii on their own wings. Her porcine friend, Will, persuades her to take an airplane, but Olvina, who has never flown before, admits that she's a chicken--figuratively as well as literally. Still, she perseveres: getting to the airport and through a security check, and then nervously taking off. Happily her seatmate turns out to be another conference goer--Hailey the penguin, who also needs an airplane to get her where she wants to go. The reassuring story gets a madcap twist from the artwork. Lin's jelly-bean-colored artwork, executed in gouache, finds humor in the small details (the chocolate that's always smeared on Will's face) and adds elements that play into the premise of the story--birds flying to Hawaii, visible outside the airplane window. A bit of bibliotherapy that also stands alone as a high-flyin' tale.
Olvina chicken desperately wants to attend the Tenth Annual Bird Convention in Hawaii. The only problem is she is too chicken to fly. Urged on by her porcine friend Will, Olvina summons the courage to buy a ticket. Dreading the moment of take-off, she is encouraged and comforted by her seatmate, Hailey penguin, who like Olvina must resort to man-made flight to make the trip to the convention. This gentle and reassuring tale will help calm the anxieties of first-time fliers and elicit certain sympathy and a touch of smugness from frequent fliers. The crayon-colored illustrations are filled with comic details and children will giggle at the other birds winging their way to the convention outside of the plane and Olvina's embarrassment at security when she discovers she has accidentally packed her ticket. A definite winner.
Horn Book Olvina, a literal and figurative chicken, longs to attend the Bird Convention in Hawaii, but her fear of flying is keeping her home. Her friend Will encourages her to face her fear and go. Every stage of the trip makes her nervous, but as each step is completed safely, she begins to relax. Children who may be similarly fearful can follow Olvina through all of the unfamiliar sights, sounds, and sensations of a plane trip.
An invitation to the Tenth Annual Bird Convention in Hawaii motivates Olvina to overcome her fear of flying on an airplane (since chickens themselves can't fly, silly). Her friend Will, a pig, encourages her, drives her to the airport, and stands by her in an embarrassing moment when she has to unpack her bag at check-in because she packed her ticket inside. She boards, nervously sweats on take-off, and her friendly fellow passenger offers her gum to help her ears. Coincidentally, he is also going to the Convention (he's a penguin and it's too far to swim to Hawaii) so they share a taxi and time together. The last pages show snapshots of them on the beach, snorkeling, and drinking coconuts along with a postcard to Will (addressed to Will Gelato at 4 Frosting Circle) with a "P.S. Flying was easy!" The intent is clear here, a message wrapped in a story to help kids feel more relaxed about flying and Lin (One for You, One for Me, above, etc.) gets it across with humor and understanding. Peopling the characters as animals gives her opportunity for puns and silliness in both the visuals and narrative. Her bordered, colorful gouache illustrations are droll and provide clever touches (e.g., a monkey retrieving a bunch of bananas from the security conveyer belt). Fun, reassuring, and very useful.
Vicki Arkoff-Midwest Book Review
Everyone knows that chickens can't fly, so it's not surprising that Olvina the hen is, well, chicken, about getting on a plane. In the new picturebook "Olivina Flies" by Grave Lin ("Dim Sum for Everyone" and "The Ugly Vegetables") our plucky heroin is invited to attend the Tenth Annual Bird Convention in Hawaii, so decides it's time to overcome her fear of flying once and for all. But on the day of her big trip, her tummy is nervously doing flip flops, giving her second thoughts. Despite the fact that most children are eager to fly in airplanes, they will readily sympathize with Olvina's fear of the unknown, and identify greatly with her worries and excuses. A fun and reassuring picture book for kids 4-7, whether they're grounded or packing for their own takeoff.
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