Reproduced with the permission of Buzz Words magazine
Ollie and the Wind by Ronojoy Ghosh (Random House)
HB RRP $24.99
Reviewed by Jaquelyn Muller
When I first picked up Ollie and the Wind, the title immediately created intrigue. How does a little boy have any impact or influence over something as infinite as the Wind? The concept for early childhood readers would certainly be enough to pique curiosity.
The first picture book for Random House from Sydney based author and illustrator Ronojoy Ghosh, does not fail to deliver a quirky and heart-warming story of Ollie who lives on an island with a tiny community of people. Immediately the illustrations convey much of the loneliness experienced by Ollie with sparsely placed houses and vegetation but the colour and Ollie’s personality give the book instant appeal.
Ollie must try to understand why the wind has decided to fly away with his hat then his scarf. He tries to search and contain the wind to demand his belongings be returned, but on discovering that the wind is untameable, he must think differently about it and how it must be dealt with.
The images are not complex but the openness created by Ghosh and the full bleed of colour allows for a sense of the outdoors. The text is styled simply and in line with the illustrations and offers restrained support to the story rather than becoming part of the imagery which can be common with a lot of picture books.
The illustrations are enhanced through texture and the colour palette of blue and greens communicate the smells and sounds of a seaside location while the primary colours attributed to Ollie and his possessions, give movement and focus to the story.
There is an obvious environmental element to this book in how wind lives around us, but I also thought that there was a feeling of discovering friendship in unexpected ways as Ollie learns to enjoy the wind.
Ghosh is an award winning advertising art director and is due to release another title next year for Random House titled No Place Like Home.