Ollie and Claire


Tiffany Strelitz Haber and Matthew Cordell
Toronto: Philomel Books (Penguin Readers Group), 2013

Themes: friendship, routine, boredom, adventure


Description: Ollie and Claire are as tight as two friends can be. Every day they picnic together, do yoga together, and eat dinner together – all on a precise schedule. But when Claire longs to break free from this routine and dreams of traveling the world, she worries that Ollie would never join her. So she takes matters into her own hands when she  responds to an anonymous sign she sees posted in town: “Travel friend wanted for round-the-world journey! Come circle the planet with me!” Who could it be? And how can she ever tell Ollie that she’s leaving to have an adventure? Ages 3-7

I like this story because it might be just the right conversation starter for those who might feel the need to mix things up every once in a while…and who doesn’t? Even children can feel the weight of routines that don’t leave space for any adventure. I’m remembering my very free-range childhood where I’d have to fill whole weekends with either alone or with friends. How that differs from how many kids experience their young years today- with programs and schedules and with very little time to just explore and create fun from scratch. Digital screen time, while fine in small doses, doesn’t provide the same call for creativity and ingenuity.

  • What was Claire worried about when she started planning her adventure?
  • How would this story be different if Claire had talked to Ollie about wanting an adventure?
  • Is it fair to think of different friendships as providing us with different opportunities? Some more adventurous, some more safe and routine?
  • How much routine and how much adventure do you prefer? How do you balance them both?
  • What are some things we might do if we need a change in our routine?