Oliver The Overachieving Anole.


I previously mentioned this book, but through the kindness of author Karin Mesa, I can report on the contents of Oliver the Overachiever. This fine children’s book details the lifestyle of non-conforming independent thinking Oliver, who from the day of his hatching, insisted  on doing things his way. Needless to say, the conservatives were against change, worrying–correctly–about the threats posed by housecats. But Oliver persevered and eventually triumphs, bringing great joy to the anole masses.

This is a fine message to send to young readers. The drawings are full of whimsy and the book is the recipient of the Mom’s Choice Awards in the category “Children’s Picture Books (Suitable For Ages Birth To 9)” and Preferred Choice Award of the Creative Toy Awards 2011. Apparently, this may be the first of many in the Oliver series and, who knows, maybe they’ll span a movie. You can learn more about Karin’s artistic diversity at her website.


About Jonathan Losos

Professor and Curator of Herpetology at the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard University. I've spent my entire professional career studying anoles and have discovered that the more I learn about anoles, the more I realize I don't know.

11 thoughts on “Oliver The Overachieving Anole.

  1. Hi Jonathan,
    What a generous gesture this post is! Thank you SO much!
    My dear friend, Oliver Anole, and I appreciate it greatly!
    I have been following your very impressive blog and enjoy the wealth of information it contains. Many Thanks again for giving a nod to the idea that just because it is fun, an anole might turn, at his whim, more colors than are commonly expected.
    I am carrying on with the illustrations of the second Oliver book, Oliver Anole and the Wild Grasshopper Rodeo. I’ll keep you up on it. I hope it’s OK if I mention your book in my next post on my blog (at karinmesa.com). I’d like the media specialists, teachers and young readers that I meet when I visit schools to be aware of all the science you offer about anoles.

    1. They are such interesting creatures. Several are keeping me company today as I plant EarthBoxes full of tomato plants. One, a bright green fellow, seems especially interested and I hope will enjoy the plants!
      Thanks for you comment about my book, Skip!

  2. I know of one more three-year-old that enjoyed the book. I read it twice last night in fact.

    I attempted to explain why the colorful lizard should be afraid of cats. Considering that my son loves watching videos of alligators eating fish, otters eating crab, and a turtle eating a pigeon (a real classic), I don’t think the significance of cat predation has sunk in quite yet.

    1. Hi Thomas, Love that your 3 year old enjoyed Oliver!
      Thankfully cat predation is not a sure thing or even high probability in my gardens. I tend to encourage using one’s wits rather than avoiding every danger. I’m pretty sure my grandson will appreciate (the classic) turtle eating pigeon! It might lure him away from the funny cat videos, where his favorite is cat swinging around on the ceiling fan!

  3. I just love the message behind this beautifully illustrated book. Think out side the box and you never know what dreams may come true…… Thanks Karin and Oliver you are my friends and you are definitely my grandsons friend who’s name is Oliver! (:

  4. We were so captivated by the beauty of the drawings and the positive message of the book, Oliver the Overachieving Anole, that we bought 3 books for our nephews and nieces in Europe.

    We are members of the Suncoast Herpetological Society here in west Florida, so we appreciate the elevation of this species to its own book and, possibly, a series. We encourage Karin to do the series!

    Linda & Charles

  5. I am privileged to have Karin as a friend, and I have found that she is also an outside-of-the-box thinker and an artist of great and whimsical talent. Can’t wait for the next book to appear. Yes, I furnish my grands with a copy, but I also read it for my own enjoyment!

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