Ollie's Odyssey by Willam Joyce

Everyone wants to be the favorite…toy that is. Joyce has taken themes seen before in classics like the movie Toy Story and the story The Velveteen Rabbit and mixed in just enough action and suspense, and a frightening villain to create a powerful contemporary morality tale about love and loss. It will stay with you long after you have finished its pages.

The favorite toy “Ollie” is a cloth “teddy-rabbit” made by hand by a mother terrified for her son who was born with a hole in his heart.  The adventures take place in the modern neighborhood where the boy “Billy” grows up and a long-forgotten carnival where the villain, Zozo the clown was once king but now has been forgotten. The dangers are real: the toy is “toy-napped” by evil toys known as Creeps, and the emotions strong. You will find yourself rooting for Ollie and aching for the once “favorite” toys that are no longer. Boy and toy set out to rescue each other and end up melting the ice heart of the villain. While the action is intense, the story never leads the reader to believe the worst will happen only that it could happen, making it fun and safe even for the youngest readers.

With overt themes that stress the importance of love, friendship, and never giving up Ollie’s Odyssey is a must read.

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