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Oliver Pig and the Best Fort Ever (Oliver and Amanda) Hardcover – May 18, 2006

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Kindergarten-Grade 2–Oliver and Amanda Pig return in another irresistible adventure, told in four fast-paced chapters. After an unsuccessful attempt at building the best fort ever, Oliver enlists the assistance of his two porcine buddies and they create a wonderful structure. Amanda asks to help, but is told, No girls allowed. However, she and her friend are willing to share their fresh lemonade with the hot, tired boys if they can enter the fort. That night, the boys camp out in the fortress. After hearing a ghost story, they are spooked by a snake that turns out to be a garden hose. Then someone or something starts pinching them, and they discover that bringing a bug collection to a sleepover is not a great idea. In their panic, the friends accidentally destroy the fort. They end up sleeping in the house, where they make plans to rebuild. Simple dialogue, short sentences, and repeated words make this a great selection for beginning readers. The cartoon illustrations add amusing details and provide visual clues that support the text. An excellent choice for fans of the series as well as initiates.–Mary Hazelton, Elementary Schools in Warren & Waldoboro, ME
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

K-Gr. 2. The title says it all: Oliver Pig decides to construct "the best fort ever." And if the builder's sense of satisfaction is any gauge of success, he comes pretty close. Four chapters divide the story of his day into episodic chunks, all the better for inexperienced readers to swallow. In the first chapter, Oliver scrounges for building materials with very limited success. In the next, his friends Albert and James contribute materials and labor, but their construction work is interrupted by Oliver's sister Amanda's curiosity. In the third, the three workers enforce the traditional, treasured "No girls allowed" rule, only to rescind it in exchange for cups of Amanda's lemonade. Finally, a sleepover in the new fort ends unexpectedly. Like the other volumes in this long-running Dial Easy-to-Read subseries, the book has likable characters, gentle humor, and expressive pencil-and-watercolor illustrations. Old fans and new ones will enjoy a day in the life of this wonderfully childlike pig. Carolyn Phelan
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 and up
  • Grade Level: Preschool and up
  • Series: Oliver and Amanda
  • Hardcover: 40 pages
  • Publisher: Dial (May 18, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0803728883
  • ISBN-13: 978-0803728882
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 0.4 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,400,057 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Jean Van Leeuwen is the author of more than fifty children's books, including picture books, Easy-to-Read books, and middle-grade fiction. She has won numerous awards, among them the William Allen White Award, the South Carolina Children's Book Award, the Massachusetts Honor Book Award, and the Washington Irving Children's Choice Award, as well as many ALA Notable Book citations. Her popular Oliver and Amanda Pig Easy-to-Read series was called "timeless as the truths of childhood" by the New York Times. Amanda Pig and the Really Hot Day was a 2006 Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor Book.

Her own two children were the inspiration for the Oliver and Amanda Pig stories, as well as several others, including Dear Mom, You're Ruining My Life. Many of her other books have grown out of her long-time interest in American history. Her historical picture books include Going West, which was cited as an IRA Teachers' Choice and Across the Wide Dark Sea, selected by the New York Public Library as one of the "100 Titles for Reading and Sharing." She has written historical fiction for older readers as well. Her Bound for Oregon was a Child Study Association Book of the Year, and Cabin on Trouble Creek was nominated for children's Choice awards in eight states.

Ms. Van Leeuwen grew up in the small town of Rutherford, New Jersey. She was an avid reader as a child, reading every book she could get her hands on, from Nancy Drew to The Wind in the Willows. At one point, while trying to convince her parents to buy her a dog, she read nothing but dog stories for a whole year. (She got the dog, but when she moved on to horses, her parents refused to cooperate.) Eventually she began writing her own stories, which she illustrated with cut-outs from magazines.

After graduating from Syracuse University, where she majored in journalism, Ms. Van Leeuwen found a job in the children's book department of a New York City publisher. She remained a children's book editor for many years, an experience with inspired her to once again start writing her own stories. Her first book, Timothy's Flower, was published in 1967, and she has been writing and publishing ever since.

Ms. Van Leeuwen now lives in another small town north of New York City with her husband, Bruce Gavril. She has two grown children, David and Elizabeth, and a young grandchild, who will surely inspire more stories.

Visit Ms. Van Leeuwen's website at

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
My kindergartner has recently discovered the Oliver and Amanda Pig books and loves them all. This book is characterized as a Level Two reader, which is described as "reading together, short sentences, simple dialogue", although my kindergartner was able to read it by herself (until she gets tired, then we switch over to "you read one page, and I'll read the next").

The stories are interesting and engage my daughter's attention. She also loves readers which are illustrated, and this book contains colorful and cute illustrations by Ann Schweninger. The story is divided into four short chapters, and in this particular story, Oliver wants to build a fort. He has to figure out what materials to use and is helped by his friends, James and Albert. I'd recommend this series to children who are beginning to develop some measure of independence in their reading and have completed the step one readers. It also makes an excellent read aloud for younger children.
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