SILVER SPRING, Md, February 21, 2014 – Boomer was the first pig to participate in the animal Olympics. His mother was proud of him, but everyone else was sure he was going to fail. Boomer was confident and said, “If your practice and try your best, you can do anything!”
Before the first event, a race, the reporter asked Boomer if he was worried that all the other animals were faster. Boomer was not worried because he had practiced, but when the race started, he was left in the dust of the faster animals. Boomer was a little sad about losing, but when the reporter asked him if competing had been a mistake, Boomer said he would do better in the other events.
However, Boomer kept losing. He lost in weight lifting, pole vaulting, hurdles, wrestling and boxing. Boomer could not figure out why he was not winning because he was trying his best. When the diving competition arrived Boomer was confident he could win, he had the best dive of any of the animals. After his cannon ball drenched the judged and Boomer saw his low score, he got angry. He shouted and threw a tantrum that ended with an emphatic “I quit!”
While Boomer was hiding in the locker room, he heard the reporter interviewing his mother about his performance. To his surprise, she was proud of Boomer despite his losing every event so far. With new confidence, Boomer came back for the last event: gymnastics. Just like all the other competitions, he did not win. In fact, he received the lowest score ever.
When the reporter asked Boomer if he had any final words for the audience, Boomer replied that he had learned that the summer games had been great practice for the winter games.
Olympig! is a book that teaches children that it is okay to lose. The story captures the spirit of those athletes who compete just for the experience and the honor of being called an Olympian. It addresses the idea that practice and hard work are needed to realize your dreams, but at the same times teaches that even if you do not win, doing your best is the most important part of sportsmanship.
The artwork compliments the story nicely. Dialogue bubbles for the accessory characters are added to the pictures which help elaborate the attitudes of those around Boomer. There are also humorous touches added to the pictures which parents will enjoy as they read with their children.
Victoria Jamesion is the author and illustrator of four children’s books including Olympig!. She attended the Rhode Island School of Design. In addition to creating her own children’s books, she teaches children’s book illustration at Pacific Northwest College of Art.
Olympig! has been chosen as part of the Scholastic Gold Medal Book List. The list contains sports themed books designed to target children’s interests spurred by the Winter Olympics in order to promote reading. The complete list contains books for ages ranging from preschool through 8th grade and can be found at http://mediaroom.scholastic.com/home.
Olympig! (ISBN: 9780803735361) by Victoria Jamesion was published by Penguin Group on July 5, 2012. It is available as a hardcover or ebook.