Review of Ogilvy

by Deborah Underwood; illus. by T. L. McBeth
Preschool, Primary    Godwin/Holt    40 pp.
5/19    978-1-250-15176-6    $17.99

Ogilvy, a wide-eyed, line-drawn bunny, is excited to make friends in a new town. But upon arrival, the rabbit’s sartorial choices are challenged; Ogilvy, clad in a knit article of clothing, is asked: “Is it a sweater or is it a dress?” In this town, according to the dress-clad sourpuss posing the question, all bunnies wear either — and only — one or the other. The designation of Ogilvy’s knee-length, turtleneck garment apparently matters greatly, “for bunnies in dresses play ball and knit socks / and bunnies in sweaters make art and climb rocks.” All these activities appeal to Ogilvy, who declares the garment a dress one day and a sweater the next, much to the rule-enforcer’s chagrin. The parallels with real-life gender-based strictures are immediately obvious, and the arbitrariness and silliness of the book’s imaginary categories encourage readers to consider whether real-world ones make much sense. The tone reflects that silliness throughout, with a jaunty (gender pronoun–free) rhyming text and spare, cartoony illustrations “made with graphite pencils, Adobe Photoshop, and sweaters,” whose bold lines and loose shadows give a classic feel to this fable with a modern message.

From the May/June 2019 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.
Shoshana Flax
Shoshana Flax

Shoshana Flax, associate editor of The Horn Book Magazine, is a former bookseller and holds an MFA in Writing for Children from Simmons University. She is a current member of the Boston Globe–Horn Book Award committee, and has served on the Sydney Taylor Book Award committee.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.


Community matters. Stay up to date on breaking news, trends, reviews, and more.

Get access to reviews of books, ebooks, and more