The Works of Julie Olson
Hip, Hip, Hooray for Annie McRae!
Tickle, Tickle! Itch, Twitch!
Reviewed by Bruce Luck
A picture book is story in its simplest form. It is a ballet of narration performed by author and artist. They dance in harmony and tell the tale with precision of language and profusion of imagery.
One of the craft’s principle dancers is illustrator, Julie Olson. In Brad Wilcox’s Hip, Hip, Hooray for Annie McRae!, Annie is delightful cowgirl leads us through the important people in her life. Julie takes over and brings Annie to life, giving her curly red hair and that indelible missing-tooth grin.
Jonathan London reveals Antarctic life in Little Penguin. Julie’s watercolor establishes the mood for the setting. With purples and blues, we sense of the long winter and chilly ocean. As the sun returns, pink-orange skies provide warmth just right for the rearing of young.
She solos in her favorite work, Tickle, Tickle! Itch, Twitch! Julie’s artist side leads off. The answer to a bored mouse’s tedium literally falls out of the sky, much to the chagrin of groundhog Gus. Lovable Gus is enjoying a perfectly lazy summer day until interrupted by an annoying itch. Imagery and language revolve as Gus’s day goes from bliss to worse. The dance comes full circle as Gus meets new friends.
Julie’s artistry adds so much to each story she illustrates. Delightful drawings are accompanied by rich colors. She adds fun to the Annie McRae books, challenging readers to find hidden images (though I swear she missed one in There’s Always a Way, Annie McRae!). Julie has a darling website which can be visited at: http://jujubeeillustrations.com/index2.php. Julie Olson is a major dancer in today’s children’s book illustrations.