Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Olympig! by Victoria Jamieson

 The Triumphant Story of an Underdog: Olympig! by Victoria Jamieson

Rating: 2.5 stars

I know, I know...the Olympics are completely over.  But they'll be back.

So, let me tell you a story about Boomer the Pig.  Boomer decides that he'll be in the Olympics, and he trains a little before his Olympic debut.  He competes in a wide variety of events--running, weight lifting, wrestling, vaulting, boxing, and hurdles, to name a few.

This pig does not know the term "specialization of labor."  Or of sports.

He stinks at all of them.  I mean, he's really bad.  And after losing horribly at each sport and having a chipper attitude, he finally loses it and throws an oinker of a tantrum.  And then he quits.

On your marks, get set, GO!
Shortly after quitting, an annoying journalist interviews his mom, expecting her to go on about her embarrassment and shame of her son.  Instead, she lauds him and says how proud she is of him for trying.

So Boomer un-quits and tries again.  One.  Last.  Event.  Gymnastics floor routine!

His comically glittery outfit and horribly spell-binding routine help him earn a spot near the bottom.  But his attitude remains positive.  "I realized something very important today!" he says.  "I realized today has been terrific practice for the Winter Olympics!"

I'm disappointed in this book about the Olympics, about which there are surprisingly few books.  The drawings are the highlight, but the story just leaves me unsatisfied.  I guess Jamieson wants kids to learn that a positive attitude is most important, and to appreciate the people (or pigs) that support you.  But I don't love how clueless Boomer is, how delusional he is about how his talents (or lack thereof) measure up against the rest of the competition.  It makes me think of all those kids out there who receive so much praise that they are shocked--shocked!--when they finally get honest (in their mind, negative) reviews.

I'm a huge fan of the Olympics, mostly because they are the hard-earned reward for individuals who work hard for many years.  This light-hearted approach to the Games rubs me the wrong way, but maybe I'm too competitive a person to appreciate a funny book about a pig who is trying really hard to be just okay.

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