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‘We need the literature of other countries to expand our
horizons and stimulate our ideas. Without it, we are not only
diminished, we are starved’
(The Times, Magnus Linklater 29/06/05)
Olivia Wrapped in Vines
by Maude Nepvev-Villeneuve
Age Range: Under_5
Do you ever get anxious? If so, what causes it? And how do you get rid of your anxiety? Olivia from Olivia Wrapped in Vines gets anxious in situations like going to the dentist, fighting with a friend, and being at the top of a big slide with everyone waiting behind her. The worst part of these situations is the vines that grow around her body. Even worse: only Olivia can see the vines.
Olivia Wrapped in Vines, written in French by Canadian author Maude Nepveu-Villeneuve and translated into English by Charles Simard, is a story about anxiety manifested in a tangible way. In this case, Olivia sees vines wrapped around herself and feels exhausted from “fighting with prickly plants. ” Luckily, her teacher Solange helps Olivia find calmness by advising her to cut down her vines. By the end of the book, Olivia finds that her vines are a part of her that she’s “learning to live with.”
Sandra Dumais’ compelling illustrations clearly show how Olivia is feeling—demonstrated by her facial expressions, body language, and the vines so particularly wrapped around her body. While the reader can identify with these feelings, Nepveu-Villeneuve further makes sure they can really understand those emotions. The very last page of the book includes a description about anxiety, discussion questions, and activity prompts. That way, the reader will truly be able to understand how they can cut down their vines, just like Olivia.
Catherine Hurwitz (June22)