One of the most memorable experiences Samantha has had with reading kids’ literature is when she contacted author and illustrator Amy Marie Stadelmann via Twitter. When Stadelmann wrote back, it was the most captivating experience a young reader could have. Getting to engage with an author and illustrator turned reading the Olive and Beatrix series into even more an an interactive experience. The fun, colorfully illustrated books are incredible anyways. I was excited to hear that book two, The Super-Smelly Moldy Blob, was released. When I asked Stadelmann to check out a copy, she was generous to take her time from her busy, Brooklyn lifestyle to mail me a brand new, autographed hardback book. Check out the trailer for the book to get a brief overview of its content.
Olive & Beatrix Book Review
In the book series, there are two main characters. The book is from the point of view of Olive, a completely normal girl, except that she has a twin sister Beatrix who is a witch. Both sisters are very aware of their differences and confident in their abilities. Sibling rivalry seems to have gotten worse with time. Olive says that she thinks Beatrix is lazy for using magic, and that using old-fashioned brainpower makes her smarter. Even though the sisters don’t always get along, they have many shared interests.
Magic, Mischief, and Siblings
Olive, Beatrix, and the next door neighbor Eddie all have one thing in common. They love science and hope to win the annual school science fair. One main conundrum is that even though Olive is certain she is smarter, year after year she keeps losing the school science fair to Beatrix. To Eddie and Olive, it seems entirely unfair that Beatrix uses magic to win.
Fierce competition between Olive and Beatrix drives them apart. Each sister wants to win the fair, but Beatrix always wins because she has magic as an advantage. In a quintessential argument, the twins argue over putting their projects on a table that is in front of the judge’s table. The girls push and shove, and they collide. Olive’s mold experiment becomes a magical, moving, growing mold. This conflict draws all three characters together to find a resolution. There is some foreshadowing that Eddie’s simple plant science fair project is becoming a more viable winner all the time.
The three characters try everything to combat the mold, but nothing works! Some of the failed strategies include a giant net, some tennis rackets, and even a magic spell. In the process of the magic spell, Houston, the magically speaking pet pig, gets stuck in the mold! This struggle draws the characters even more together to find a solution.
Sisters Can Solve Any Problem When They Work Together
It is a huge relief when the girls find a way to work together to solve the problem. Beatrix uses some magic, and Olive uses some good, old-fashioned science. Both girls are successful in their methods. In the end, each girl recognizes that the other possesses incredibly useful qualities. As they learn to appreciate each other, they save the pet pig. Although the sibling rivalry might not entirely go away, the girls gain a better understanding of each other by the end of the book.
I loved that the illustrations added a very captivating dimension to the book for kids and adult readers. The book reads like a graphic novel, not a typical chapter book, so young readers stay engaged. Stadelmann does an excellent job of pulling girl readers into a topic girls might not typically find interesting. Although this story involves mold, chemistry, and environmental science, it has a main focus on friendship and sisters that any girl can appreciate. Samantha would usually rather read about princesses and puppies, but the book is so relatable that she found it intriguing. Georgiana and I did too! This book brought out our silly side.
My Daughter’s Video Review
Samantha wanted to share a short review of her own. The book reminds her of her favorite movie, Frozen, as well as her little sister, and it made her want to visit a science fair. Check out Samantha’s first video book review!
We enjoyed receiving a video back from the author afterwards. My daughter couldn’t believe she got a shoutout from her favorite author. Check it out below.
Stadelmann is an author worth following on social media. From time to time, she’ll share her cool character sketches so you can see her creative process. Check her out on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.
If you like this book, there are so many other Scholastic books that are similar. Olive & Beatrix is part of the Branches book series. This means there are a lot of other short chapter books filled with illustrations that are perfect for young readers. I’ve tried out several other series, including Owl Diaries, Princess Pink, the Silver Pony Ranch, Missy’s Super Duper Royal Deluxe, and the Amazing Stardust Friends. Each series has the right amount of words and pictures to challenge and support early readers.
Do you have a favorite children’s book series? Share in the comments section!
I received a free item, but it in no way influenced my opinion!