Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 3 to 5
- Grade: p to k
- Reading age: 3 to 5
★“Scenes are evocative and provide endless opportunities for discussion with young children. This book is ideal for all libraries as a non-threatening and productive story that can give hope to children who feel like Olivia.”—SLJ, starred review
The world is a really big place for little kids.
When Olivia starts to feel overwhelmed by her big feelings, she sprouts vines. They are thorny and twisty and make it impossible for Olivia to do the things she loves to do, like ride her bike or play with her friends. Plus, no one wants to come near a giant ball of thorns. Luckily, Olivia has a very special teacher. Someone who sees past the prickly and the pokey to the upset little girl and helps Olivia learn to manage the vines.
This quirky picture book is the perfect introduction to the idea of anxiety and those big feelings that seem impossible to manage. Olivia’s teacher provides some tricks to help manage the feelings, and a special message at the end of the story encourages young readers to think productively about their own anxieties.
About the authors
Maude Nepveu-Villeneuve is an editor and professor of literature at CEGEP in Old Montreal. Between writing projects and lesson prep, Maude dances ballet and reads to her daughters. This is her first picture book for children. She lives in Montreal.
SANDRA DUMAIS writes and illustrates comic books, picture books and stories for kids and other silly people. Her books have even received a few different honors and nominations, most recently Le Prix des Libraires in Québec. She lives in Montreal, Quebec with her husband, their two children, and a polkadot rescue dog named India.
Charles Simard is a Québécois editor and translator from Tiohtià?ke / Montréal. He works as poetry, fiction, and nonfiction editor for Talonbooks in Vancouver on Coast Salish Territory. His published work includes the essay Littérature, analyse et forme: Herbert, Tolkien, Borges, Eco (EUE, 2010) and a number of translations for Orca Book Publishers, including Elise Gravel’s The Wrench and Myriam Daguzan Bernier’s dictionary of sexuality, Naked!. As a lexicographer, he has collaborated on the making of the popular linguistic suite Antidote in its bilingual editions. He holds a PhD in literature from Université de Montréal and was a postdoctoral fellow at the City University of New York’s Graduate Center.
“Style of illustration...lessens the visual stimuli and provides a more comfortable reading experience for sensitive children…Accomplishes that difficult balance between being specific about a particular condition and not trivializing it by generalizing anxiety into the sort of nerves any child might have while, at the same time, also building common ground such that readers without anxiety can still easily empathize with Olivia. Highly Recommended.”
CM: Canadian Review of Materials
“A good introduction to anxiety…Adults and older children will like this book and find it useful.”
“Perfectly capture[s] the sense of anxiety that can play out in the lives of children through Olivia...Teachers, librarians, and care givers might want to look to this title as students head back to in-person classes after months of virtual school. Highly Recommended.”
School Library Connection
★“Scenes are evocative and provide endless opportunities for discussion with young children. This book is ideal for all libraries as a non-threatening and productive story that can give hope to children who feel like Olivia.”
School Library Journal, starred review
“The expressive illustrations…have their own childlike charm. A picture book that offers validation and hope to children dealing with anxiety.”