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The Picture Book Buzz

Picnic with Oliver - Perfect Picture Book Friday #PPBF

Know how there always seems to be that one trip each year, where you forget to check the weather, or the wildfire report. I think after camping at Crater Lake last fall - during the height of the Oregon wildfires - my family has been cured of this problem, at least for a year or two. We are not likely to forget the smoke that descended through the valley and down to the lake for a long time. Luckily we were safe, if a little smoky. We look forward to returning sometime soon when we can actually see that there is an island in the lake. And we keep a closer eye on weather and conditions before we go anywhere.

After creating an adorable book about a cat's struggle to find a friendship that was right in front of his nose, Mika Song continues Oliver and Philbert's friendship with a crazy outdoor adventure.

This is a great book for anyone who loves picnics and time outdoors or who's ever had their "best laid" plans go awry.

Picnic with Oliver

Author/Illustrator: Mika Song

Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers (2018)

Ages: 4-8



Friendship, adventure, perseverance, and creativity

Synopsis (from Barnes & Noble):

A beautifully illustrated picture book about friendship, starring the BFF cat-and-mouse duo Oliver and Philbert, from award-winning author-illustrator Mika Song.

The two friends are going on a picnic—but not everything goes as planned. First their cart breaks, and Philbert must find a solution: a bagel wheel! Then Philbert goes sailing and Oliver has to save him from a storm using some equally clever thinking.

When trouble is near, Oliver and Philbert help each other. Because that’s what best friends do!

This picture book adventure is perfect for reading with friends and family, or bringing to the park.

Opening Lines:

Oliver and Philbert are best friends. They do everything together.

"Oliver, let's have a picnic."

"Ooh, I do love a good picnic!"

What I like about this book:

In a delightful story about an afternoon picnic, Oliver and Philbert demonstrate perseverance, determination, and a touching friendship between a cat and a mouse.

After gathering the supplies for their picnic, Oliver and Philbert head toward the park. Immediately, things take a turn for the worst when the cart escapes and damages a wheel. Mika Song offers a foreshadowing of both the climax and Oliver's eventual solution on this page.

Text and image © Mika Song, 2018.

To save the picnic, Philbert creates a new wheel with a bagel. Surprised, but excited, the friends arrive at an empty park, choose the perfect spot, and set about to enjoy their picnic. Although the friends are blissfully ignorant, the illustrations, which begin in soft peach and light green tones, quickly grey and darken as - you guessed it - a rainstorm descends on the city.

Unfortunately, Philbert was on the lake in a paper boat when the storm hit. As his boat threatens to capsize, Oliver searches for a way to rescue his friend. After a jolt of inspiration, he uses his umbrella as the perfect lifeboat.

Text and image © Mika Song, 2018.

They safely return to shore to find a ruined, soggy picnic. But Philbert has just the way to save the day and celebrate their friendship, with a sweet flashback to their first book.

Overall this is a sweet friendship story, with a dash of creativity and a bit of flexibility rolled in. It makes for both a fun sequel and a great book for those who like picnics or found item creativity.


- write or draw the funniest or strangest thing that's happen to you on a picnic?

- make a paper boat like Philbert's (

- can you think a fun or useful way to use an everyday item?

If you missed it, Mika Song stopped by to talk about writing, illustrating, and the inspiration for Picnic with Oliver, this Monday (here).

This post is part of a series by authors and KidLit bloggers called Perfect Picture Book Fridays. For more picture book suggestions see Susanna Leonard Hill's Perfect Picture Books.

Maria Marshall

 Photograph © A. Marshall

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