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Oliver's Must-Do List Hardcover – October 1, 2005

5 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

PreSchool-Grade 2–Oliver, a rhino wearing a striped T-shirt, wants to play with his mother, but she has a long list of chores to do. Lonely and bored, he creates his own Must-Do list. His mother recognizes Oliver's need and they spend the day together. The plot is satisfying and many children will identify with Oliver and his need for a playmate. Unfortunately, the digitally rendered artwork is often cluttered and overwhelming, showing the protagonist surrounded by his many possessions. Although some of the details are charming (such as the facial expressions of the youngster's Boston terrier), more often the pictures pack in too many images for viewers to take in. The illustrations are sometimes from Oliver's point of view (for example, only showing the belt of his mother's apron) and sometimes more general, and the switch in perspective is distracting. The endpapers include a neighborhood map that does not relate to the story, adding to the confusion.–Susan Murray, Glendale Public Library, AZ
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


"Sullivan's adorable rhinos have wonderful facial expressions. . . . A heartwarmer with a message that many a busy parent should heed." --Kirkus Reviews

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 6 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 1
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Boyds Mills Press (October 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590781988
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590781982
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 0.4 x 10.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,216,657 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Oliver wants his mother to play with him, but her must-do list has no end. He tries to entertain himself, but the games aren't as much fun without a playmate. Oliver finds a clever solution and spends a special, fun-filled day doing what kids do best...PLAYING!

I immediately fell in love with Oliver. What a personality! Oliver feels like a real kid, begging for attention and desperate to get more mommy time. Oliver is a sweet, imaginative and enterprising kid who young readers will want to emulate.

Kids will feel Oliver's pain, and parents will share in his mother's guilt. It seems there's always too much work and no time to play! After reading this book, my own children insisted that I do not play with them enough, so I challenged them to post their own must-do lists on the refrigerator. It was also an excellent opportunity to discuss chores, responsibilities...and things we can all do around the house to help mommy have more time to play. Plus, they came up with some really great family activities!

Teachers and parents will appreciate the 12-page teaching guide available at the author's website. It's full of great classroom and at-home activities that build on the book and feed young minds. Also at the author's site: information on how you can have Oliver visit your school or book store!

Oliver's Must-Do List is a wonderful reminder to take a break for fun time, snuggle time, wish-upon-a-star time. Be sure to clear a spot on the fridge for pint-sized must-do lists before reading this book!

See my other reviews at YA Books Central
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Format: Hardcover
As a working Bay- area Mom of a 5 year old and a 4 month old - it is not surprising that time flies right out of my day and my night.

Oliver's Must Do List hits me hard as I realize the underlying message that the author is trying to put forth. Spending time doing fun stuff with the kids is an absolute priority.

Regardless of the chores around - there is always laundry to be done or mail to sort out. However those chores are always going to be there. They are not going away but my children have only a few years to be children. They will grow up and I don't want to miss out on their growing up years.

I want my kids to look back and think about the time they spent sleeping in an indoor makeshift tent or playing "dress up" with Mommy. They are not going to reminisce about the time spent doing homework or brushing their teeth before going to bed. Today I am as delighted as my cherubs that I made colored soda with Sprite and watercolors for the dolls tea party ,played tag around the coffee table, ate ice cream with pickles and potato chips. The list can go on

Oliver... is a great read for all parents along with their children - I actually feel it is an aide to planning pleasurable moments in your child's day. I would re-read this book as a constant reminder to not get caught up in my household tasks and errands that have to be run but plan some humorous and entertaining moments with the kids.

Thanks Susan Taylor Brown for providing you the insight that we all seem to miss in balancing career & home. We seem to miss out on the amusing side of life. I think I am now going to treat myself to some tomfoolery however impractical that may sound.

Go ahead you all - indulge in some comical instances today. The monkey business can keep you sane. :-)
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Format: Hardcover
Oliver is a baby rhinoceros with a tiny round stump of a horn. He has lots of toys and stuffed animals, and a cute little dog. But what he wants most is for his mother to play with him. Alas, she is too busy with all of the chores on her "must do" list, and Oliver spends a long day wistfully noting how much more fun things are when you have someone to play with. The next day, Oliver takes it upon himself to replace his mother's "must do" list with fun items of his own, and he and his mother share a very different day.

The illustrations in this book are remarkably detailed, with lots of hidden rewards to repay the careful viewer. My favorite such gift is a drawing of Oliver's patched pajamas, straining across his broad rear, with a stitched opening for his little tail. Oliver's dog is also priceless, expressive and mischievous, though never actually mentioned in the text. I also liked the detail that one day Oliver smells the clean in his favorite shirt, fresh out of the dryer, and the next day we see him wearing the shirt. Of course. It's his favorite, after all. It's all very careful attention to detail, with exuberant colors.

But what really makes Oliver's Must Do List shine is the story itself. Who hasn't noticed how difficult it is to play pirates or race-cars alone? And yet, what parent hasn't sometimes been too busy to play with an impatient child? Ultimately, Oliver's mother shows him just how much she loves him, through the time that they spend together. Oliver's Must-Do List is probably best suited to four to six year olds, who will appreciate the richly detailed pictures. I highly recommend this book.

This book review was originally published on my blog, Jen Robinson's Book Page, on May 14th.
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