Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

Olga and the Smelly Thing From Nowhere

Gravel, Elise (Author/Illustrator)
HarperCollins 2017. 176 pages
First published: 2017
Series: Olga
ISBN: 9780062351265 (hardcover)
9780062351289 (e-book)
Original language: English
Book type: Graphic Text
Book genre: Humour

Text Elements:

structures and features

Reading Range

 
Cycle
Elementary
Secondary
 
1
2
3
1
2
ELA
K
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL Intensive & Enriched
5
6
1
2
3
4
5

Description:

Olga is obsessed with animals but has trouble connecting with humans. When she finds Meh, a creature that “looks like a cross between an inflated hamster and a potato drawn by a three-year-old” she begins to investigate the species, a journey that ultimately leads her to connect with humans. This “observation notebook” is humorous and laid back, with creative details, illustrations and scenarios.

The illustrations are cartoonish and minimalist, done in black, red and pink. Meh is a pink oval with beady eyes, and Olga wears a long-sleeved red dress and has long black hair that trails into a sharp point. Chuck, who she meets in the dog park, has hair that looks “like an angry kid had drawn it.”

Olga’s imagination is eccentric: “On top of becoming a famous zoologist, I’d like to become an animal chef as well.” The accompanying illustration shows Olga wearing a chef’s hat saying, “Today we’ll prepare a shrimp soufflé for our guest” while beside her, an enthusiastic dolphin awaits. Her descriptions of items sold in the local corner store include a “fortune-telling broccoli plant, glow-in-the-dark-toilet brush and light-up musical litter box.”

When Olga hosts a party for Meh, she invites those who have helped her: the librarian who helped research Meh’s origin, the store owner, and even her nemeses neighbours, who washed Meh and provided additional information for Olga’s observation book. Olga’s final observation reads: “Some humans are OK after all.”

  •  

    Brainstorm the steps that scientists follow while making scientific observations of living creatures.

  •  

    Olga has discovered an imaginary creature with unique and interesting characteristics. Create your own creature-pet that bears the traits of various animals, but is a complete one-of-a-kind, like Meh.

  •  

    Consider what creature will be Meh’s companion. Create a Wanted poster to find him a friend so that Meh does not live out the rest of his existence alone.

  •  

    What are the structures and features of this book? How is it organized? What feature could you add to it?

  •  

    What do you know about the scientific method? Compare your ideas with Olga’s version on page 168. How could you use this method in real life?

  •  

    Draw a character map for Olga. How are you similar to or different from her?

  •  

    Explore the variety of Olga's observations. Choose a topic and find something to observe about it. Use Olga’s models to present your observations through a variety of formats.

  •  

    Create your own creature-pet. Use Olga’s description process to describe it.

  • To adopt effective work methods
  • To communicate appropriately
  • To use creativity
  • To use information
  • Environmental Awareness and Consumer Rights and Responsibilities
  • Health and Well-Being
  • Mathematics
  • Science and Technology