Inspired by the amazing kids books covered over at Vintage Children's Books My Kid Loves and the regular feature on Strawberry Lemonade, i feel compelled to share one of my favorite childhood books: Little Oleg. Not only is it special because of the sweet story and fantastic illustrations, it's special because it was written by my great aunt and great uncle (my grandma's sister and her husband)!
Little Oleg is a generous neighbour to Eric, who takes advantage of him after his house burns down...
Eric stays with Oleg and eats all his food, driving Oleg to ask the miller for a loan. Oleg rebuilds Eric's house, and as a result, Oleg's vegetable crop is neglected and he is left with nothing to sell.
Oleg asks for help from Eric and he gives Oleg an old coat, thinking "i am too soft hearted... i should have given him a lecture!". Oleg thinks he will have no where to live, and his coat was the least of his worries, until he takes it to the tailor who offers to buy the silver buttons!
This leaves Oleg with enough money to repay the miller and throw a party to thank Eric. When he invites Eric, Eric becomes angry and thinks a party is a waste of money - "Besides, i thought you were hard up!" he says. He refuses Oleg's invitation and curses the fact he didn't know the coat had silver buttons.
Eric stays home sulking about the villagers partying at his expense. Meanwhile, only Oleg notices Eric's absence and at the end of the evening he leaves a parcel of treats at Eric's door. Oleg returns home, happy once more. The end!
Margaret & John Cort
Carolrhoda Books, 1971