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How Oliver Olson Changed the World

How Oliver Olson Changed the World

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How Oliver Olson Changed the World

4/5 (9 evaluări)
85 pages
1 hour
Oct 25, 2011


How Oliver Olson Changed the World is an irresistible chapter book from Claudia Mills, featuring lively illustrations by Heather Maione. Oliver Olson learns that before you can change the world, sometimes you need to change yourself.

Oliver Olson's teacher is always saying that one person with a big idea can change the world. But how is Oliver supposed to change the world when his parents won't let him do anything on his own—not his class projects or even attending activities such as the space sleepover at school. Afraid he will become an outsider like ex-planet Pluto, Oliver decides to take control of his corner of the universe!

Oct 25, 2011

Despre autor

Claudia Mills is the acclaimed author of many books for children including the Franklin School Friends children's book series, including Cody Harmon, King of Pets and Simon Ellis, Spelling Bee Champ. She lives in Boulder, Colorado.

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  • All that Oliver could do was to paint a second Pluto. At his neat, orderly house, Pluto would have had a safer life—but at his house, his parents would have made the diorama for him, and Pluto wouldn’t have gotten to be in it at all.

  • I always try to have my main character learn a small but important truth about how to make his or her life better. Oliver learns that even if he can’t change the whole world, he can change some little part of it.

  • Oliver said a silent farewell to Pluto number three. Maybe this was the ultimate proof that Pluto wasn’t meant to be a planet, after all.

  • Now he wanted to ask her how long the pieces of wire should be, but instead he studied the size of the carton.

  • He didn’t want to keep on doing things for the rest of his life the same way he had always done them.

Previzualizare carte

How Oliver Olson Changed the World - Claudia Mills

Table of Contents

Title Page











Also by Claudia Mills

Fun Facts about Pluto



Copyright Page

To Caroline McKinney


Oliver Olson looked up at the moon.

The large inflated ball hung on a string from the ceiling in Mrs. O’Neill’s third-grade classroom. Earth and Mars and the other planets hung there, too, because this was the Monday that Oliver’s class was starting its five-week study of outer space.

When I was a girl, Mrs. O’Neill said, astronauts walked on the moon for the very first time.

Oliver tried to imagine Mrs. O’Neill as a girl. The best he could do was picture a much shorter version of a stout, short-haired lady with thick glasses and a kind smile.

How many of you would like to walk on the moon?

Every hand shot up, except for Oliver’s. Oliver’s parents would never let him walk on the moon. The moon was too far away. It was too cold. It didn’t have enough gravity. The rocket might explode. Rockets exploded all the time.

Mrs. O’Neill looked at Oliver. He hoped she wouldn’t ask him why he didn’t want to walk on the moon. She didn’t.

But Crystal Harding did. Her desk was right next to Oliver’s. Why don’t you want to walk on the moon? she whispered.

Oliver shrugged.

A shrug wasn’t enough of an answer for Crystal. Do you think it’s dangerous?

Oliver nodded. Maybe a nod would end the conversation.

Flying is safer than driving a car, Crystal said. It’s even safer than riding a bike.

Well, being launched into outer space in a rocket wasn’t the same thing as flying. And Oliver’s parents were never going to let him drive a car, either. They didn’t even let him ride a bike with his friend J. P. Gleason, except for around and around their boring little cul-de-sac.

Crystal? Mrs. O’Neill said.

I was just asking Oliver why he didn’t want to walk on the moon. Now everyone was staring at Oliver. And he said it was dangerous. Actually, Oliver hadn’t said anything. And then I said—

Crystal. Mrs. O’Neill interrupted her gently but firmly. Right now I need you to be listening, not talking.

Crystal gave Mrs. O’Neill an apologetic smile. At least five times a day, Mrs. O’Neill had to remind Crystal about not talking. She was the most talkative person Oliver had ever known.

Astronauts first walked on the moon on July 20, 1969, Mrs. O’Neill told the class. Neil Armstrong led the way, and he spoke the first words ever spoken on the moon. He said, ‘That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.’

Oliver thought Neil Armstrong must have planned what to say ahead of time. Those words didn’t sound like something that would pop into someone’s head on the spur of the moment. Maybe Neil Armstrong’s parents had written them for him and made him memorize them.

J.P. raised his hand. Do people still walk on the moon?

No, Mrs. O’Neill said. There hasn’t been a manned space voyage to the moon for decades.

Why not? J.P. asked.

Oliver could guess the answer: the moon was too far away, was too cold, and didn’t have enough gravity. And when you got there, it was just a bunch of rocks.

Don’t people want to study the moon’s rocks? J.P. continued.

Oliver knew that J.P. loved rocks. J.P.’s desk was full of rocks. Whenever Mrs. O’Neill had a desk-cleaning day, J.P. would drag out dozens of rocks from his desk, and Mrs. O’Neill would make him take them home. And then, Oliver knew, J.P.’s mother would make him put them outside in the backyard.

I’m sure there are lots of scientists who would like to know more about the moon’s rocks, Mrs. O’Neill said. But recent manned space missions have stayed closer to Earth.

J.P. looked disappointed.

A girl named Sylvie Shi raised her hand. Do animals ever go up into space?

Oliver knew that by animals Sylvie meant bunnies. Sylvie had two bunnies of her own, and every time the class did an art project, Sylvie made hers a bunny. So far Sylvie had made a clay bunny, and a bunny puppet, and a silhouette bunny, and a bunny made out of papier-mâché.

"Some of

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  • (4/5)
    I read these early chapter books fairly quickly and find most of them forgettable, often not recalling later that I ever read them! This however had not just humor but substance: Oliver finds a way to break his parents' overprotective bonds without hurting their feelings and finally be able to participate in activities like the other kids. His hovering parents are definitely annoying and when Oliver gives in to passive inaction, you want to shake him. He's finally moved to taking a stand when his teacher questions why do something just because it's always been done that way.
  • (4/5)
    This was a great, short read. Oliver's voice is realistic and relateable for young readers. Oliver is closed watched and protected by his parents but as the reader sees more and more of Oliver's thoughts there is a strong emerging character in him. A strong comparison to be made in this book is between Oliver and Pluto. Oliver latches on to Pluto and saving Him because he sees himself as Pluto. Oliver thinks he is weak, set apart, different, and not with everyone else in his grade. I like that Oliver's sickness as a child was acknowledged. Many kids get held back a year for different reasons and may feel similar to Oliver. This book gives them the feeling of not being alone and that they can do big, great things like Oliver even if they feel small in their world.
  • (4/5)
    It is a sweet book, and took about 20 minutes to read! Kids will like it, since it is short. Oliver is a little guy with over protective parents. He just wants to work on homework all on his own and attend the class space project sleep-over. A little girl in his class, the one who always gets in trouble for talking too much, befriends him and their friendship helps Oliver gain the courage he needs.
  • (3/5)
    I loved the constant theme in this book of parents needing to know when they're doing too much for their child. The book reminded me of my best friends parents when I was growing up. Her mom would call 3 times between the time she came over to my house and the time her mom was expecting her to go to bed just to see how everything was. I believe in a child growing independence even at an early age, but I also understand how life experiences (such as Oliver's getting extremely ill) could make a parent more cautious about their children's whereabouts and what they're doing. The book is about a boy named Oliver, who's class is spending 5 weeks learning about the solar system. Oliver is a quiet boy who started school late because he became really ill for months when he was 4, so his parents are super cautious. His class will be doing a "space" sleepover in his classroom at the end of their space unit but his mother is too worried to allow him to go. He ends up partnering up with a girl who is super chatty in his class to build a space diorama and protest pluto not being a planet with this diorama. It was hard for Oliver to break that news to his parents, because his dad and mom were already planning/doing all the work for him to make sure he got a perfect grade. The state Senator also comes to his school and his class writes letters to her explaining something that should be done to change the world. Oliver's partner for the project sends his actual idea in (he sent his mothers idea in) and the senator ends up picking it as the best idea, the only problem is his parents heard it and the idea was; "Schools should make it a rule that parents can not help/do their children's homework". Thankfully, Oliver's mom and father take it positively and at the end of the book Oliver's mom allows Oliver to attend the classroom sleepover.
  • (3/5)
    More of a K-2 book than 3-5. Lots of solar system curriculum to work with as a class read aloud.
  • (5/5)
    Ever since Oliver was sickly when he was little, his parents have been overprotective... they don't let him go on sleepovers and they want to do EVERYTHING for him, even his school projects. When the third grade class plans a space sleepover as the culminating event for their study of the solar system, Oliver thinks there is no way he'll be able to convince his parents to let him go. But take a chatty project partner, a planet that's no longer a planet, and a visiting senator, and he just might have the recipe for proving to his parents (and himself) that he has what it takes to change the world.
  • (3/5)
    I picked this up because Claudia Mills is one of those people I associate with the Betsy-Tacy books. She gave a presentation at one of the BT conventions, even. This is a charming, sweet book about Oliver and his helicopter parents. It's also about Neil Armstrong and space and Pluto and third grade. It's funny in spots, poignant in spots and very nicely done.
  • (4/5)
    Afraid he will always be an outsider like ex-planet Pluto, nine-year-old Oliver finally shows his extremely overprotective parents that he is capable of doing great things without their help while his class is studying the solar system.
  • (4/5)
    Oliver Olson feels very confined in his life – a sickly young child, his parents are now hyper-involved in his schoolwork, and let him go very few places with friends. His third grade teacher introduces a unit on the planets, culminating in a special space sleepover, and as much as Oliver knows he wants to go, he knows his parents will not let him. But he begins work on his solar system diorama, with his parents doing most of the work, as always. This is a great story about allowing kids to have a say in things – Oliver eventually is able to speak his mind to his parents and get to go to the sleepover. He has a great friend named Crystal, who isn’t his first choice of friend, but is a great one nevertheless. Oliver wants to get involved in life, and he sure does. This is a good “next-step” book for third and fourth graders –at 104 pages, it is a good length to challenge them.
  • (3/5)
    Nice beginning chapter book. Many children will be able to relate to the overprotective parents and Oliver's need to break free so he can begin exploring.
  • (4/5)
    Oliver, a third grader, wants to do his own diaroma of the solar system. He also wants to go to the space sleepover that his class is having. But he knows his parents, who worry about him a lot because he was sick a lot when he was younger, won't agree.