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A Boxed Set of Olivia and Olivia Saves the Circus

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Overview

Have fun with Olivia...
  • dressing up
  • singing songs
  • building sand castles
  • napping (maybe)
  • dancing
  • painting on walls
  • and -- whew! --
going to sleep at last.
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Overview

Have fun with Olivia...
  • dressing up
  • singing songs
  • building sand castles
  • napping (maybe)
  • dancing
  • painting on walls
  • and -- whew! --
going to sleep at last.
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Take one adorable porcine heroine, add two hilarious picture books about her, mix a little style and whimsy, and throw in a limited-edition poster -- what do you get? The Olivia boxed set! Olivia and Olivia Saves the Circus are now together in one box with a poster, and the star piglet shines more brightly than ever. A terrific gift for any child who hasn't been introduced to Olivia -- and an even better present for fans looking to complete their collections -- this boxed set will be cherished by anyone looking for a self-assured, adventurous mascot.
Publishers Weekly
The Olivia Boxed Set will have fans of Ian Falconer's perky piglet oinking for joy. The attractive black, white and salmon-pink slipcover holds Olivia-a 2001 Caldecott Honor book-and Olivia Saves the Circus plus a laminated poster of the red stockings-clad starlet in a quartet of ballet poses, suitable for framing. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature
Olivia is a masterpiece of simplicity that portrays the complex, imaginative psyche of children. Olivia's boundless energy tests her mother's patience and her little brother's endurance, while wrapping herself into the reader's heart. Deciding what to wear takes a full page of choices, all executed in charcoal and gouache with highlights of red. With humor and honest emotions, Olivia is "every child" who accepts Degas, Jackson Pollock and Maria Callas as equals. Her bedroom walls reflect her Pollock phase, which causes Mom to say, "Time out!" When Olivia negotiates with her mother over the number of books to be read at bedtime, every parent smiles. Olivia is a Caldecott Honor Book that proves the maxim that "less is more." 2000, Antheneum, $16.00. Ages 4 up. Reviewer: Jan Lieberman
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 3-From the articles of clothing strewn across the front endpapers of this droll account of Olivia's escapades, readers may surmise that this porcine heroine is no ordinary youngster. Olivia is constantly on the move, dreaming big dreams and meeting every challenge head-on. She doesn't just get dressed, she tries on every outfit in the closet. She doesn't just dance, she envisions herself as a prima ballerina bowing before an adoring audience. When her mother teaches her to build sand castles, Olivia creates a towering structure that closely resembles the Chrysler Building in New York City. When she views a Jackson Pollack painting in the museum, she immediately concludes that she can do better and proceeds to try her hand at painting a wall at home. Her efforts earn her time out and a bath. The text is brief, funny, and sometimes ironic in relation to the highly amusing illustrations. The only touches of color in the pictures, executed in charcoal and gouache, are the bright reds of the clothing or objects used by Olivia. There are often many renderings of the young pig on each large white background, effectively demonstrating her boundless energy. Even at day's end, she is still going strong, negotiating the number of books to be read at bedtime. For a lively storyhour featuring feisty females, pair this with Kevin Henkes's stories about Lilly.-Marianne Saccardi, Norwalk Community College, CT Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
Karen Carden
Not only is this one terrific picture book, but it's Falconer's first...Illustrations are stunning, done in stark black and white with splashes of true red. Together, the words and pictures evoke smiles, giggles, and a rare but thrilling sense that this book may be absolutely perfect.
— The Christian Science Monitor
People Magazine
High energy piglet Olivia excels at all kinds of things, especially wearing people out. A charming tale sure to strike a chord with the grade school set.
Richard Corliss
Falsoner, whose work has appeared on New Yorker covers, has given her [Olivia} so much porcine panache that she would win over even the strictest parent. Most of the time.
— Time
Kirkus Reviews
Even before her story begins, readers are following Olivia as she leaves a trail of clothes that she has eschewed in favor of the outfit du jour for her auspicious entrance on the title page. Rarely have readers seen a pig with such joie de vivre and panache. The brief, declarative text is an unadorned introduction to a character who will gain instant recognition and quickly be taken to heart. The story very simply follows the irrepressible Olivia (along with her somewhat forbearing family) through a typical day from morning to night, with excursions to the beach and the art museum. A delicious irony is established between the spare, deadpan text and the ever-ebullient and excessive Olivia. "Olivia gets dressed. She has to try on everything," says the text. Thus begins a parade of 17 outfits and 17 poses on a double-page spread. While young readers will love picking their favorite among the 17, by far the funniest is Olivia in her pantyhose. Much of Olivia's personality is conveyed through her generous, expressive, and slightly quizzical mouth, as she ponders a Degas at the museum or suffers the indignity of a "time out" after re-creating a Jackson Pollock on her bedroom wall. Characterizations are deftly accomplished with minimal line. Illustrations are rendered in charcoal and gouache in black, white, velvety gray with lipstick-red accents. Flawless decisions in composition and page design, generous white space, and a few exaggerated perspectives add much to the book's distinction. Although the most visual weight is given to Olivia, just waiting on the sidelines is Olivia's little brother Ian. New fans of Falconer can only hope Ian will soon star in his own book.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780689853890
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
  • Publication date: 10/1/2002
  • Series: Olivia Series
  • Edition description: Slipcase
  • Pages: 84
  • Age range: 3 - 7 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.96 (w) x 11.76 (h) x 1.07 (d)

Meet the Author

Ian Falconer is a painter and illustrator whose illustrations have graced many covers of The New Yorker magazine. In addition, he has designed sets and costumes for the New York City Ballet, the San Francisco Opera, and the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, among others. Olivia is his first children's book. Mr. Falconer lives in New York City.

Biography

Ask any book-loving toddler who Olivia is, and you're likely to get a big smile and an enthusiastic description of a rambunctious, creative, and lovable little pig in return. Ian Falconer's Olivia books are a bestselling sensation that has grabbed the attention of kids from coast to coast.

Falconer did not start off as a writer and illustrator of children's books, but he did have an impressive background in art. After studying art at New York University, Parsons School of Design, and the Otis Institute, Falconer hooked up with noted artist David Hockney to design sets and costumes for stage productions in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and London. He also made a name for himself as an illustrator for The New Yorker.

However, Falconer's life changed when he first laid eyes on his baby niece, who, by no coincidence, is named Olivia. "I was just entranced by her," he told Barnes & Noble.com. "I wanted to make a little present for her, so I started working on this book."

That gift for his niece would become the first in a series of smash hit children's books, although it was no overnight sell. Falconer first submitted the book to a Manhattan agency, which loved his expertly rendered illustrations but felt he needed to work with an established writer. "So, I sat on it," he explains. "Then a couple of years later, Anne Schwartz at Simon and Schuster called me. She liked my New Yorker work and asked if I would be interested in doing a children's book. I brought her Olivia." Fortunately, Schwartz had the foresight to recognize the potential of Falconer's peppy pig and his first book was published.

Olivia is particularly unique in the world of children's picture books because of its stark minimalism. Inspired by the similar style of Dr. Seuss, Falconer chose to create uncluttered images in black and white with the occasional splash of red. His story was equally minimal, describing the antics of a hyper-active piglet who tests her mother's patience by belting out songs, drawing on the walls, dancing, and...well... acting like a kid. "She's not really a bratty character but she does get away with a lot," Falconer says of his creation. "She manages to do what she wants, create havoc and sort of gets away with it, because whatever she's doing, it's also kind of interesting. I think Olivia could possibly be a little more thoughtful of others, but she'd be not nearly as much fun."

Kids certainly picked up on the fun in Olivia, sending the book onto the New York Times bestseller list and inspiring a parade of new adventures for everyone's favorite piglet. In Olivia Saves the Circus, she spins tall tales about lion taming and tightrope walking. In Olivia ... and the Missing Toy, she plays amateur detective. In Olivia's Opposites and Olivia Counts she even teaches some valuable lessons for the toddler mindset. All of the books are distinguished by Falconer's trademark humor and unmistakable illustrative style.

In Olivia's latest escapade Olivia Forms a Band, Olivia makes a racket like never before when she decides to start a one-pig band using items she finds around the house. Only a rapscallion like Olivia can get away with making music on pots, pans, toys, and even a pair of suspenders and still remaining 100% adorable. The book also breaks new ground as it introduces some welcome shades of blue into the visual mix.

Falconer's legions of pint-sized fans will surely be delighted by Olivia's latest adventure. Meanwhile, the real Olivia is taking the popularity of the pig she inspired like a regular celebrity. "I did a book signing out in Connecticut, and about half way through the book signing, Olivia came in with her parents just to say ‘hi'," Falconer explained with a grin. "She had to have been five at the time, and she just sat down and started signing the books. She felt as if she ought to be signing as well!"

Good To Know

Falconer has brought his unique talent to "The Happiest Place on Earth." He is responsible for designing floats in the new Main Street Parade.

Olivia is not the only character in Ian Falconer's books that was inspired by a real person. He says that everyone in the little piglet's family was inspired by members of his sister's family.

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    1. Hometown:
      New York, New York
    1. Date of Birth:
      August 25, 1959
    2. Place of Birth:
      Ridgefield, Connecticut
    1. Education:
      Studied art history at New York University and painting at Parsons School of Design and Otis Art Institute

Interviews & Essays

Ian Falconer Talks About Olivia

Q. We know that the Olivia books are about your niece, but are there any autobiographical parts as well? If so, what?

A. Of course. One always draws on one's own experiences as well. I was always a very busy child -- making things.

Q. How did you decide to portray Olivia as a pig?

A. Pigs are very intelligent creatures. They seem to have a more human quality than, say, chickens -- like dogs.

Q. Were you surprised by Olivia's enormous success?

A. Yes. I was completely overwhelmed.

Q. You have worked in a wide variety of artistic media, including set design, costume design, magazine illustration, and book illustration. What do you like best about creating children's books?

A. I've always felt that children's books are for the most part condescending toward children and miss how smart children are. Their little hands and mouths may not be able to articulate what is going on in their sharp little brains. Writing children's books is an opportunity to express this, and it seems to be appreciated by both children and adults.

Q. Olivia's family plays a supporting role in both books. Are any of the characters in Olivia's family based on your own family?

A. All of the characters are my sister's family: my niece Olivia's parents, her two little brothers, and their cat and dog. But they are all just peripheral. It's really all about Olivia -- at least in her mind!

Q. Why did you choose to illustrate Olivia in only black, red, and white, rather than in full color? And what is the significance of the salmon color in Olivia Saves the Circus?

A. By eliminating most colors, it helps you focus on facial expressions and graphic situations without a lot of color and details obscuring the basic emotional architecture of the story. Salmon comes from Olivia's dream-world palette. More theatrical.

Q. The work of Jackson Pollock has become instantly recognizable to young children since your inclusion of one of his paintings in Olivia. How did you come to select that painting in particular?

A. Because most kids would look at it and say, "I could do that in about five minutes."

Q. Many people have remarked upon the unusual portrait of Eleanor Roosevelt on the wall of Olivia's bedroom in Olivia Saves the Circus. Why did you select Mrs. Roosevelt to be featured in the book and why this particular portrait of her?

A. I chose Eleanor Roosevelt because she is a great role model and because it's totally absurd. This particular picture is animated and funny.

Q. What were some of your favorite books as a child?

A. The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins. Higglety Pigglety Pop! And Eloise, of course.

Q. What artists do you consider to be your greatest influences?

A. Picasso and Matisse (although you wouldn't know it from the books).

Q. Did you have a favorite pet as a child? Do you have any pets now?

A. Yes. A dachshund named Runzel and a seagull named Henry.

Q. You had a seagull?

A. I found it after it had been abandoned, so it was semi-wild. Eventually he was released into the wild.

Q. Did you particularly like the circus as a child? Did/do you have a favorite circus attraction?

A. Yes, I enjoyed the circus. There was an old clown named Lou Jacobs in the Ringling Brothers circus who did an act as a hunter with a dachshund dressed as a bunny rabbit.

Q. Did you ever tell an outlandish "show and tell" story of your own?

A. No, not that I remember. Although I had a very active imagination, I was very shy in front of other people. (But I dressed up a lot.)

Q. Where is your next Olivia book going to take your heroine?

A. Only Olivia knows!

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 24, 2004

    MY OLIVIA

    I WAS QUICKLY DRAWN TO THIS BOOK BECAUSE MY DAUGHTER'S NAME IS OLIVIA. BUT THE SIMILARITIES BETWEEN OLIVIA AND MY DAUGHTER ARE ENDLESS. MY OLIVIA LOVES THIS BOOK. IN THE BEGINNING, SHE ACTUALLY THOUGHT THAT IT WAS WRITTEN ABOUT HER. SHE HAS TAKEN ONE OF THE BOOKS EVERY FRIDAY FOR SHOW AND TELL FOR THE PAST THREE YEARS. RIGHT ON, MR. FALCONER. WE CAN'T WAIT FOR THE NEXT ONE...

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 29, 2003

    olivia is a star

    I am an adult, with no children and I love the Olivia series. She is a great role model for all ages. She teaches self-confidence and not being afraid to be creative!! Olivia is the best. The illustration is fantastic. Less is more. Bravo Olivia.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 8, 2003

    We love Olivia!

    We actually bought Olivia Saves the Circus for my 18-year old since the uniform Olivia has to wear bears such resemblance to the school uniform that she wore all through her years of school! However, the book was quickly appropriated by her 3-year old sister, who declares that she is Olivia.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 18, 2002

    Olivia Is Amazing

    This is a great book for any young person. Our little one loves olivia and i think she is a great role model.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 14, 2002

    Olivia the Pig is precious

    I have the original Olivia book and a couple board books. They are so cute. My daughter's name is Olivia, and their mischeivious personalities are quite similar.

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