Oslo Learns to Swim

S. & S./Spotlight. (Rex & Oslo). May 2023. 32p. pap. $4.99. ISBN 9781665926478; Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781665926485.
PreS-Gr 1–Rex the warthog and Oslo the oxpecker are best friends, but they argue a lot. In this book, the bird and warthog exchange banterlike dialogue about going swimming. Rex wants to go swimming and invites Oslo to join him. Oslo comes up with every excuse imaginable to not go: “It looks cold,” “It looks pretty deep.” As Oslo stands on the shore complaining and worrying about potential crocodiles, Rex jumps in and starts to have a good time without Oslo. Finally, Olso admits that he doesn’t know how to swim, and Rex quickly offers to teach him right then and there. Rex models the appropriate ways to swim safely, and Oslo is a quick learner. The duo has fun, demonstrating that true friends always help each other. The story ends with a bit of a plot twist as two crocodiles, one of whom is afraid to swim, begin walking toward the same lake. This is an adorable story about friendship and fun told in speech bubbles very similar to those seen in the Mo Willems’s “Elephant and Piggie” stories. The cartoonlike illustrations and large speech bubbles will appeal to young children. This looks to be the first of many adventures for the unlikely pair.
VERDICT Recommended for general purchase, as it will have broad appeal to the preschool and the beginning reader population.

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