Sunday, March 29, 2009

Olga Da Polga

Have you met Olga? She's a very funny little guinea pig who captured our hearts a year or so ago when we spent a very rainy wintery week house hunting and listening to her very first adventures. We found on cd at our local library and popped it in right away. Morgan has been a guinea pig freak for some time, and I was delighted to find a book with stories about one for him.
Olga is a huge story teller, and the book opens with her telling a big amusing story to all the other guinea pigs at the local pet store before she is swept away by Mr Sawdust and joins the rest of the Sawdust family. She quickly becomes friends with Fangio, Graham, & Noel. All of which she meets in a semi accidental way.
We learn through some very funny stories why guinea pigs don't have tales, why rosetta guinea pigs have rosettes (my personal favorite piggie cause they don't shed and it doesn't bug my allergies!), and that guinea pigs can't swim. We laughed so much with Olga, and I'll admit there's a rather sad chapter for young listeners, and I will not tell you how it ends or it may spoil the surprise. I will say that for days, weeks, months, and even now, a year later, we still retell the stories of Olga Da Polga.

The boys loved the story so much that not only did the debate renaming our own little piggies at the time, that they begged to go to the library so we could find more. Our library has many copies of the books (one we recently purchased in their sale), but only one audio. It mattered not to the kids, we simply checked out the paperback copies and took them home to read. They were very delighted when the girl at the counter exclaimed, "Olga! Oh I love Olga, my mum use to read Olga to me when I was a little girl. The stories are so good, and funny..." They agreed with her, and it was a cute conversation that followed.

So, when we finished up yet another read-aloud the boys demanded (seriously) that I read Olga Da Polga next. As it turns out we own the second book in the series entitled Olga Meets Her Match. It's another funny story all about Olga and a "Russian" guinea pig named Boris. Olga truly does meet her match in story telling when it comes to Boris! We are truly enjoying the book, yet again.

Funnily enough, after discovering the Peanut is a boy (the name no longer seems as fitting for some odd reasno), I've found myself referring to Peanut as Boris. I peeled an apple and asked the kids to give Boris the peeling. They laughed and said, "Can Olga have some too!" Lucky for us, as long as we have fresh fruits and veggies in our hands our piggies aren't too picky what we call them.

There are many books in the Olga Da Polga series, and I'd love to treat Morgan to the set for Christmas. The problem is the books were written in 1975 and are a bit harder to come by these days, at least the entire collection. We will have to see what we can find here and there.

If you haven't enjoyed a good dose of Olga Da Polga, you are REALLY missing out. We love listening to audio books in the car, and we've started reading a chapter book (one chapter each night) to the kids before bedtime. They've fallen in love with Nim (the book is just as good, if not better then the movie) and Plop, and now they are back to Olga. Olga is one of those books where you can read it a million times and still laugh each time. She's a great old friend, and we truly enjoy her wild imagination.

Audible Kids has Olga Meets Her Match up for grabs to listen to. It's very worth it. You can also check out the other books in the series here. (You'll have to scroll to the bottom for the Olga info..)

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