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Brave Ollie Possum Hardcover – November 12, 2019
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"Brave Ollie Possum is just what youth lit needs today: an aspiring hero, a sense of humor, and the kind of adventure that older readers will enjoy as much as the young!" --Doug TenNapel, author of Cardboard, the Nnewts series, Earthworm Jim, and Tommysaurus Rex
"A funny, inspiring story about learning to face your fears that my daughter and I loved reading together and helped her finally stay in her own bed at night." --Frank J. Fleming, columnist for The New York Post and author of Punch Your Inner Hippie
"Brave Ollie Possum is something special: a story that walks alongside children and all their faults, never talks down to them, and in the end affirms that love overcomes their deepest, darkest fears. At once deliciously zany and refreshingly honest, these pages spill over with adventure, danger, and laughter for kids and those of us who never grew up." --Kyle Mann, editor of The Babylon Bee and author of How to Be a Perfect Christian
"Brave Ollie Possum is a delight! I first knew of Ethan Nicolle as the co-creator of Axe Cop and his other comics, all of which are filled with wit and absurdist humor. In his debut novel, Brave Ollie Possum, he has shown that his talents transfer well to extended prose. Reading Ethan's writing made me feel like I was reading the work of a modern-day Roald Dahl. It is sure to be a fun read for adults and children alike! Ethan isn't afraid to take us into dark and scary places and find humor therein. If you liked 'Witches' or 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory' you are bound to like this book." --Trevor H. Cooley, author of The Moonrat Saga, The Jharro Grove Saga, The Dark Prophet Saga, and Noose Jumpers
"A funny and original adventure about a boy's quest to find courage... Generously filled with Nicolle's gorgeous pen and ink illustrations." --Paul Noth, writer and cartoonist for The New Yorker
"Ethan's book is super creative and deals with a subject close to my heart: childhood fear. I read this to my children and they were riveted to the characters and story the entire time. Love this book and would suggest it to anyone." --James Kennison, host of That Story Show podcast
From the Inside Flap
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It's about nine-year-old Ollie Mackerelli, who is so afraid of things that go bump in the night that he's taken up permanent residence in his parents' bed. This is about how he learned to be brave. But his transformation doesn't happen quickly. Things start off with cowardly Ollie running to his parents' bedroom yet again to crawl under the sheets with them. That's a safe place to be, but it does come with a cost: three people in a double bed leave his dad with bags under his eyes and a scowl on his face. He wants to know when Ollie is going to grow up and stop being afraid of imaginary monsters.
Then, mysteriously. Mizz Fuzzlebuzzle, a very strange, very large lady shows up at the Mackerellis' door. She offers to take their son to a "special go-away fun place where children like Ollie can be taken and all his fears will be gobbled up." Who is this lady? Her card says she specializes in "professional anti-scary therapy and comfortology." Desperate, the sleep-deprived parents hand off their son to the expert, hoping she'll be able to help.
But here's the twist: Mizz Fuzzlebuzzle isn't actually an expert in anti-scary therapy. She's actually an ogre. And all those bumps in the night? It's her pet monster making them. Ollie was right all along! But being right won't get him out of the clutches of this ogre. And to make matters worse, she wants to eat him. It turns out scared children are an ogre delicacy.
But despite being scared, Ollie gathers enough courage to spray the ogre with one of her own magic potions. Sadly, ogres aren't susceptible to magic potions. People are, though, so when the ogre spits the potion right back at him, Ollie is transformed into a creature that passes out in the face of danger: Ollie becomes a possum.
The rest of this rollicking tale is about Ollie, with the help of some animal friends, learning what true courage is: that it's not about being unafraid, but about facing our fears and going on anyway. The author of Brave Ollie Possum is one of the folks behind the Christian satire site Babylonbee.com so the book is every bit as funny as you might expect. Another highlight is the artwork. This is a full-size novel, but it could almost be called a picture book, with fantastic, fun illustrations every three pages or so.
The only caution I'll note is that this book about being brave is, at times, scary. I think it might be the book I am most looking forward to reading to my children, but there is no way I could read this as their bed-time story, or even in the middle of the day. I'm going to have to wait a bit, probably until they are all at least ten.
But for kids over ten, particularly boys, this will be so much fun. And for certain 9-year-old kids who are scared of what goes bump in the night, this could be a good day-time read with mom and dad to help a little one learn what being brave is all about.