5.0 out of 5 starsSamuelson is a terrific artist! Olga is an ideal selection for parents ...
6 July 2015 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
Olga, a children’s novel by Ted Kelsey is an inventive and enjoyable story about two young people, Sally and Jack, who get caught up – literally – in a bit of mischief that takes them on an adventure in the clouds. Once there they encounter Olga, the unhappy daughter of an evil cloud giant who has been plotting with his brothers to go to earth and destroy it. Jack has to learn to be brave, and both he and Sally struggle to avoid the many dangers they face in the cloud kingdom, as they figure out a way to escape from the clouds and return to their families back on earth. The illustrations in the book by artist Dillon Samuelson are extremely well done, and they help bring this entertaining story to life. Samuelson is a terrific artist! Olga is an ideal selection for parents who love to read to their children at bedtime.
5.0 out of 5 starsThis is a great tale full of adventure
6 May 2015 - Published on Amazon.com
This is a great tale full of adventure, phantasy, and courage in the face of adversity. The illustrations are beautifully done and complement the book. Take the journey and travel with Jack and Sally to the land of giants!
5.0 out of 5 starsStuffed elephant, two children, and roaring giants in this exciting YA novel by Ted Kelsey
3 January 2016 - Published on Amazon.com
Ted Kelsey wrote Olga, a delightful YA novel that felt like Alice falling deep in rabbit hole and ending up in Wonderland - except that in Olga, it was not just one but two persons, Sally and Jack, who were flown to the clouds, and eventually reached Cloud Castle, by a stuffed elephant - and Neil Gaiman's Coraline, when she discovered another world different from the one she was living in.
Olga - ted kelsey - book review - readingruffolos
The comparison ends in those areas though as Kelsey wrote the story with a voice distinctly his, devoid of the attempt to sound like Rowling or Gaiman or the Grimm Brothers. Kelsey wrote in short, simple sentences but carefully selected words, uncomplicated and yet exciting enough to keep you reading until the very last page. The story's pacing is unhurried evident by the chapter division, which is neither long nor short for readers falling between the ages of seven and 12.
The story gains momentum when our child protagonists, Jack and Sally, discovered something suspicious in the old, abandoned house. What they thought as one evening of discovering ghosts in the dark turned out to be an adventure on the clouds and meeting a character named Olga along with her father Ragash and a cook named Freakything.
In this novel, Kelsey marries two realms, reality and fantasy, and places two children, Jack and Sally, this story's protagonists, in the middle of the action that involved clouds, giants, moths, and a tiger. Kelsey did not paint a rosy picture of the human world as seen from the eyes of the children in this story. He wrote a realistic world, one that a reader can relate to when she reads about curfew, school, and being grounded. The underlying messages of humankind's indifference to nature and arrogance in dealing with issues are subtly painted in the conversations of several characters, who have witnessed everything that humankind have done over the centuries.
Kelsey sneaked in an airplane in the story and a character under the name Mr. Dodadudis whose appearance did not directly change the course of the story. The airplane is not irrelevant though and you'll know why in Chapter 24. Kelsey hinted another book with Mr. Dodadudis playing central character. Wise, nice insertion adding spice to the Kelsey writing and series of stories.
Kelsey teamed up with artist Dillon Samuelson in providing black and white illustrations to the story. This reminded me of Neil Gaiman and Chris Riddel's collaboration in three of Gaiman's novels, Coraline, Fortunately, the Milk..., and The Graveyard Book. These three books are sold in one collection on Amazon.
Samuelson's illustrations in Kelsey's novel is only a handful though. I wish there was more. Yes, this reviewer (a 29-year-old mother of three graduate student slash journalist slash social develoment worker) would love more pictures.
Olga is also a perfect weekend read for adults looking for reading materials that won't cause them cerebral hemorrhage. This one is fun and lighthearted and yet, it did not forget to emphasize the crucial role that humans play in this world. What that role is up for you to find out. Clue: it's pretty obvious.
Olga is a 5 Star/Top Pick for 2015 by the Underground Book Reviews and recently received Official Selection Honors in the Young Adult category of the 2015 New Apple Summer eBook Awards for Excellence in Independent Publishing.
Kelsey is slowly building his name as a celebrated author of children's literature who makes winter reading warm and fuzzy. His next book, Shasha and Wally Watson Vs The Faker, is coming out soon. If you like to open your mind - and well, your heart - to a new author who writes in a voice that delivers a social message in a non-preachy way and then coat that message in a chocolate and caramel mixture of excitement, fun, and magic, get to know Ted Kelsey and his works. You can thank the clouds for this fellow.
Promise, you won't be disappointed.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a copy of this book from Story Cartel in exchange for honest review. I was not required to write positive reviews. Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.
Olga is a refreshing read for it's unexpected plot and characters. The premise is quite unique that I was intrigued, wondering what was happening in this untold world of giants. The actions thrilled, moving quickly, and the characters developed well. Each chapter dangles a carrot in front of you, enticing you to continue reading. I finished this book in three days.
Ted Kelsey does an excellent job unraveling the symbolism of the novel with integrity, not losing the tone and flow of the novel, and without becoming didactic. The message of courage and inner strength resonates well as the young protagonists, Jack and Sally, discover their real selves in the midst of grotesque fear and evil. Recommend not just for adolescents but adults as well.
If you enjoy reading fantasy novels that are easy to read, fast-paced, and creatively articulate, this novel is for you.
NOTE: I received a free copy of this book via Story Cartel in exchange for providing an unbiased review.