Olga da Polga
Olga da Polga is a fictional character and heroine of Michael Bond's The Tales of Olga da Polga (ISBN 0-19-275130-1) series. Unlike his more famous character Paddington Bear, Olga (a guinea pig) is a teller of tall tales in the style of Baron Munchausen. The rough frame work of the stories is something like this: Something fairly ordinary will happen to Olga, she will tell her animal friends a wildly exaggerated version of events, which are often revealed to be untrue by what the humans say later on. Olga was named after the Bond family's real guinea pig; in 2014, Guardian journalist Michelle Pauli met Olga number six.
Bond's books were memorably illustrated by Danish artist Hans Helweg, who was also well known for his 'pulp fiction' covers for Pan paperbacks. His illustrations are still strongly associated with Olga, although later imprints have used different imagery including artwork by Catherine Rayner for Usborne.
- Karen Sawdust - Olga's owner and caretaker. As a child, she seems to understand Olga better than her parents.
- Mrs. Sawdust - Karen's mother.
- Mr. Sawdust - Karen's father. Built Olga's home.
- Noel - Karen's pet black cat. He's very sly and knowledgeable in the ways of the world, as he is free to enter and leave the house as he pleases. Although he claims to not believe most of Olga's tales, he still listens to them often.
- Graham - A tortoise. Dislikes being picked up and set down upside down. He's very slow, but often has a unique way of viewing the world.
- Fangio - A hedgehog with Argentine blood. He often stays in a box in the Sawdust's garage, and enjoys a meal of bread soaked in milk. He often goes to the Elysian Fields (a patch of waste land beyond the shubbery).
- Boris - Olga's boyfriend. He lives by the seaside, and is also the father of Olga's children. He watches too much TV, but this makes him a very good storyteller. He rivals Olga in the storytelling department.
- Fircone and Raisin - two hamsters that Karen buys later. Although Olga is initially jealous of them, as they are kept in Karen's room and seem to be her favorites, she quickly warms up to them. They bite Noel when he tries to sneak up on them, which earns Olga's respect, as she admires them for standing up to Noel, small as they are.
- Venables - A toad who lives in pond in the Sawdust family's yard.
- 1971 The Tales of Olga da Polga
- 1973 Olga Meets Her Match
- 1976 Olga Carries On
- 1982 Olga Takes Charge
- 1987 The Complete Adventures of Olga Da Polga (omnibus)
- 1993 The Adventures of Olga Da Polga (omnibus)
- 2001 Olga Moves House
- 2002 Olga Follows Her Nose
- 2002 The Best of Olga Da Polga (onmibus)
- 1975 Olga Counts Her Blessings
- 1975 Olga Makes a Friend
- 1975 Olga Makes a Wish
- 1975 Olga Makes Her Mark
- 1975 Olga Takes a Bite
- 1975 Olga's New Home
- 1975 Olga's Second House
- 1975 Olga's Special Day
- 1983 The First Big Olga da Polga Book (Omnibus)
- 1983 The Second Big Olga da Polga Book (Ominbus)
- Pauli, Michelle (28 November 2014). "Michael Bond: ‘Paddington stands up for things, he’s not afraid of going to the top and giving them a hard stare’". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 3 December 2014.
- Gurney specialised in the treatment of guinea pigs, and treated Bond's guinea pig who was the inspiration for Olga. Daily telegraph