#190 – Olive and the BIG Secret by Tor Freeman

5 Stars
Olive and the BIG Secret
Tor Freeman
Templar Books
No. Pages: 32   Ages: 4 to 7

Inside Jacket: Olive is told a secret. She wants to tell Jessie. She almost tells Ziggy. She does tell Joe! Now Joe has a secret. . . . What will happen next?


Molly tells Olive a BIG secret. Olive is Molly’s friend, so Molly believes Olive will keep her secret. The trouble with a secret is you cannot tell anyone, but then you really want to tell someone, even if you swore not to tell.

Olive is having a hard time keeping Molly’s secret to herself. She wants to tell someone. That secret must be a good one. All Olive thinks about now is that BIG secret. She is having a hard time keeping it to herself.









Olive then sees Joe and thinks about telling him the secret . . . and does.  Now Joe has Molly’s BIG secret, and all Joe can think about is The Secret.  He tells Matt, who tells Lola, who tells . . .

Wow! Poor Molly, her BIG secret is now all over town. If she finds out, Olive will be in so much trouble. Olive and the BIG Secret is a fun read that teaches two big lessons. One, if you have a secret, keep it to yourself. Two, if told a secret, keep it to yourself.

Olive is an adorable looking cat with big eyes. All  of the characters are cute animals dressed as children and doing what kids do. They are a humorous bunch. Children will have little problem identifying with the characters. Molly instantly reminded me of a childhood friend.

Young children will like the story. The dialogue is sparse, letting the illustrations tell the story. This is great for young kids who do not read or who are beginning to read. In the illustrations, the animals’ emotions are easy to recognize, especially Molly’s after she realizes what Olive has done. I love the illustration of Molly running after Olive, with the tip of her tongue sticking out. Small details like this make the illustrations perfect.

I think young children will like Olive and the BIG Secret and will catch on that telling a secret is bad. Parents can easily use the book as a dialogue starter with their child. Teacher’s will find this story useful as well. At the very end, Olive still cannot control herself and tells Molly’s secret one last time.

I love this story of friendship, self-control, or lack thereof, and—shoot, if I say this I will be telling part of Molly’s secret—um, let’s forget that one. I love the little details that hint at things to come, or just make the spread that much better.  Olive is a great character. She has potential to be very, very good, and very, very bad. Olive could easily be a multi-book star taking on all sorts of childhood calamity, rites of passage, and celebrations. Put Olive in  soft packaging and kids will grab her off of every shelf. She is one of those characters that can last more than one generation.

“Shh, don’t tell anyone and I’ll tell you what Olive did.  You promise you won’t tell anyone else?”

“I’ll whisper it.” (Olive flips up the bottom corner of the page, inviting anyone who reads the book to turn the page.  Molly is on the other side.)

This secret telling ending is but another small detail I love and a perfect ending to Olive and the BIG Secret.


Olive and the BIG Secret

Author/Illustrator: Tor Freeman   website   blog 
Publisher: Brubaker, Ford & Friends*   website
Release Date: August 14, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-7636-6149-6
Number of Pages: 32
Ages: 4 to 7
*In U.K. Brubaker, Ford & Friends is an imprint of Templar Press.
In U.S. Templar Press is an imprint of Candlewick Press website

19 thoughts on “#190 – Olive and the BIG Secret by Tor Freeman

    • What is the secret? That is a great question Erik. I know what the secret is, but if I tell you then . . . You should know by now that I try to leave something out that will cause you to want to pick up the book. The BIG, as in HUGE, secret is the one for this book. It is a GIGANTIC secret for Molly and Olive just could not keep such a COLOSSAL secret to her self, though she tried. Do you think you could keep an ENORMOUS secret for a friend? Would you make a MAJOR error in telling someone else the GRAND secret? Or could you keep the MAMMOTH secret forever? Well, Erik, could you keep a BIG secret for a pal? I’m not trying to make a TREMENDOUSLY HUGE deal out of Molly’s secret, but I could never tell unless I knew you could keep it to yourself. So?


    • Ah, three-year-old. What a great age to have around you. “I’ve got a secret.” Definitely a great book for this age group. I hope yours likes this book. Makes a great Christmas gift (not an affiliate, just like to see authors get sales).


  1. It sounds like an interesting book! Even I want to read it now! I think another discussion to have with kids is when keeping a secret can be harmful. When is it good to tell and when is it good to keep it secret?

    Thanks for leaving your friendly comment on my blog, Amanda’s Books and More! By the way, your link didn’t work at first and then I checked and saw that there was an x in place of the s at the end of your blog name, so I typed it correctly in the search engine and it worked. 🙂 Have a great week ahead!


    • Sorry about the typo. I would be so lost without a spell check. I hadn’t thought of this when I wrote the review, but you are absolutely right. There are times when keeping a secret is not a good idea. Seems Olive may need a follow-up book explaining when to let someone else know the secret you were told or heard. Thank you for remembering this and pointing it out to all that will read this review and the comments.


    • You have liked every book this week. I am going to need to try harder to find a book you won’t like. And I thought you were picky. Must just be about dragons and such.


  2. Great review Sue! The whole issue of secrets and the hard lessons that children need to learn around them is just a timeless issue, isn’t it? There are a few adults I can think of who might need to read this book! lol Thanks for linking into the Kid Lit Blog Hop. 🙂


    • Yeah, I finally made it to the Kid Lit Hop!!
      Secrets, who doesn’t have them. Yep, I know some adults that could benefit from this book too. The kids can read it to them and explain the hard concepts if there are questions. haha


  3. Oh, Olive is in such big trouble! This book looks really cute. I like the illustrations. And the words look pretty simple. But it’s not a simple concept. It’s hard to keep secrets!


    • Rhythm, do you have a hard time keeping secrets? I thought dogs were Great! at keeping secrets. I know my kitties don’t tell my secrets . . . I, I hope not.

      Yeah, it is hard keeping a secret, especially a juicy one like Olive was told.
      Olive is a good main character, she is going to cause so much mischief in her next book. I think it is called Olive and the Bad Mood.


    • Hello Genevieve. It is nice to see you here. Olive and the Big Secret is a really good book. Tor Freeman is as good an author as she is an artist. Okay, maybe not as good but close. She has been an artist longer than an author. She was super helpful in getting the illustrations you see here.


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