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Olivia Board book – October 1, 2004
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The New Yorker artist Ian Falconer's endearing charcoal portraits of his porcine heroine are spotted with fire-engine red gouache in all the right places--perhaps a tribute to Hilary Knight's red, pink, white, and black celebrations of Olivia's human counterpart? When she dresses up, the bow on her ears, her red lipstick, and her high-heeled shoes are all red. (The only time her shades-of-gray body is pink is when she is sunburned and the area where her bathing suit was is white!) Falconer does a fine job of letting the spare text set up the jokes for the visual punch lines--a dryly humorous interplay that adults will appreciate as much as children.
Preschoolers (and their parents) will see themselves in Olivia--a typical high-energy, over-the-top kid who likes the beach and Degas paintings, but hates naps. On the other hand, she combs her ears and is unusually gifted at sandcastle building. While we are certainly reminded of Eloise, Falconer's portrait is simpler in scope, less demented, and, as a result, less adult. Bottom line: precocious is fun, and we're tickled pink to have Olivia join the parade of, let's just say, individualistic youngsters. (Ages 4 to 8) --Karin Snelson --This text refers to the Audible Audio Edition edition.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Audible Audio Edition edition.
Top Customer Reviews
This simply is one of the finest children's picture books of the year, and sure to be named on everyone's Top of 2000 list. Quietly humorous and tongue-in-cheek narration, fluid and expressive black-and-white-and-red artwork, and the charming portrayal of the busy and mischievous Olivia make this an instant classic. Sight gags abound (Olivia's ambitious sandcastle, her pink-pink sunburn, her dreams of being a ballerina, and her songbook "40 Very Loud Songs") and Falconer, a New Yorker cover artist and theatre designer, portrays the never-ending energy of a tiny pig, er, girl, with wit and charm.
Don't miss this one: suitable for all ages from the very young to the very old, "Olivia" is the prize of the season. It's the kind of book kids will be begging to have read to them before bed: bargaining for not once, not twice, but three times.
Even more fun is Olivia's appreciation for art and the like. Imagine a little kid wanting a Callas picture book read to them. It's touches like this that make Olivia the clear winner as one of the best picture books to emerge this past year. I am hoping Falconer will write a few more books about this precious piglet. In the meantime, be proud to buy a copy of this book for yourself, even if you don't have any kids. It will definitely be the literary high point of your week.
Like many children, Olivia is into many activities and uses her energy to the full extent. This book allows children to feel comfortable and secure in knowing that they can play all day, make mistakes, and wear their parents out without losing their love. It provokes children to be energetic and creative while enjoying the tales of lovable pig who inspires them to play and create.
The skill and subtly of shading is breathtaking. The minimalist palette (black & white plus red) is brave, and certainly helps to highlight key elements (mostly Olivia's clothes!). I am reminded of the ghost-activated inventory in The Sixth Sense. In any case it should come as no surprise that Mr. Falconer is a talented set designer.
What I didn't love:
The many examples of poor behavior.
I can accept that a piglet like Olivia has an ego bigger than her size belies. But letting a young child act out in a selfish and often destructive manner is no recipe for success. Maybe it works in a pigpen but then again, Olivia is anthropomorphized so we must hold her to a higher standard than most swine.
Painting on the walls à la Pollock and intentionally frightening her younger brother are actions not to be admired or laughed at. Olivia's parents are of course complicit to some degree. Allowing her to try on upwards of twenty outfits every morning, and negotiating before bedtime, would never stand in this house. Finally, and possibly most egregious, the goodnight exchange of "I love you anyway" seems far from a secure and sincere expression of love.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Such a cute book and a great value. After I bought the board book for my daughter, I bought it as gifts for 2 more children. My son even loves it. It's not too "girly.Published 1 day ago by Mamalovesstyle
This book was part of a birthday present for our 2 year old granddaughter.Published 13 days ago by NAT
I bought this book because I wanted my sons to have more books with women leads. It's very boring and doesn't have a good story or message. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Nicole
A classic in English, now in French. Great for getting 9yo interested in the language.Published 2 months ago by DDT
Great story with amazing drawings, and fascinating references.Published 2 months ago by Jonathan Villegas
Still a classic. Bright colors mixed with black and white pictures draw a child's interest. I love Olivia! I sent it to my granddaughter to start her book collection.Published 2 months ago by rustydog