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I am the smartest

Written by  Ellen DeLange

Illustrated by Malgosia Zajac 

About 'I am the smartest'

Olive the dog wants to play with her friend Squirrel. But Squirrel doesn't have tine. He has to gather acorns for the winter. And than Fox shows up. He's hungry... Who will get what they want? Or will they all win?


A funny story about trying to outwit your friends.


Age: 5+

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Story behind the story

My family has two Jack Russell terriers - mother and daughter. Olive, the little one, loves to go after critters, 

especially squirrels. Not the larger grey ones, but the smaller red ones. One day Olive almost caught one.

This made me think what would happen if a squirrel would turn around to protest being chased all the time.

This story has become a little thinking game, as all animals in the story have their own agenda. Who would gain the most and is the smartest?


About the illustrator

Malgosia Zajac is a Polish illustrator. She live with her family in a very old Polish city called Krakow. This city is well known for it’s famous dragon (unfortunately not in good shape anymore) and for “Wawel” royal castle (still in very good shape). 


She strongly believes that imagination is the most important thing in her artistic live. Her head is always full of all kind of creatures, imaginary friends, magical worlds and incredible storys. She uses her skills and different techniques to create nonexistent worlds on paper in her illustrations.


The shelves in her workshop are full of beautiful books, illustrated by her favorite artists from all over the world. She admires them and still learns something new from them. Malgosia dreams that one day, her illustrated books will be on someones favorite shelve too.


International publications

'I am the smartest' is (will be) available in:

Dutch (2021)

English (2021)

Russian (2022)


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A clever funny book! Olive had a busy day. She wanted to play with her friends but her friends did not have time to play. She outfoxed the fox and outplayed the squirrel. Olive was the smartest of them all. You and your child will have fun reading about Olive the dog and how clever she was with her friends. It is a friendly book that will have you both in stiches. What an imagination Olive has and what we can learn from her!

Jeanie - Goodreads 5*****


In this story the dog, squirrel and fox each think they have outsmarted the others and that they are the smartest. It was cute to see how each character used problem solving skills to figure something out. The squirrel needed food for the winter. The dog needed time to play with squirrel. The fox was hungry and needed something to eat. The illustrations were colorful and detailed and added a lot to the story. I would definitely recommend this to young readers for a great fall story about problem solving and friendship.

Jillian Boyd - Goodreads 5*****


A whimsical little story reminiscent of Aesop's fables. Particularly good for "s", "k", and "r" sounds. Will Olive ever be able to play with her friend? What happens when a bully shows up? Great introduction into conflict resolution and rewards of teamwork.

Katherine - Goodreads 5*****

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