Ian Falconer's popular piglet makes a hilarious comeback in her third picture book -- a mystery to end all mysteries! After cajoling her mom into sewing a distinctive red shirt for the soccer team (Never mind that everyone else’s jersey is green!), the little trendsetter heads outside to play. But when she returns, she realizes that her "best toy" is missing. In highest dudgeon, Olivia launches a massive manhunt (make that pighunt) -- checking under the rug, under the sofa, even under the cat, and giving little brothers Ian and William the third degree. But the mystery remains unsolved until that dark and stormy night when an awful sound interrupts her piano practice. Holding a candelabra that casts spooky shadows on the wall, the plucky little piglet investigates -- and discovers the real culprit behind a closed door.
With Falconer’s trademark black, white, and red line illustrations and a storyline that underlines Olivia’s appealing can-do attitude, this new installment in the winning series is swine-tastically superb. Eat your heart out, Sherlock.
The Washington Post
In this, her third public appearance, she shows no sign of fatigue, despite spending the whole book in red-and-white-striped pajamas. The plot is slightOlivia's BEST TOY was lost and is foundbut New Yorker cartoonist Ian Falconer's spare charcoal drawings, splashed with Olivia's favorite fire-engine red, are as dryly amusing as ever.Elizabeth Ward
The New York Times
An artist who has done more than a dozen New Yorker covers as well as designing sets for the stage, Falconer has a witty and sophisticated eye; there are images in each of his books that can make you laugh with instant recognition.
The porcine star who burst onto the children's books stage in black and white-plus her favorite color, red-is back! Here Falconer adds green to his palette and mystery to the plot for this third adventure featuring the incomparable Olivia. However, "green is not Olivia's color." So she entreats her mother to make a red soccer jersey to replace her team's green one. "But then you'll look different from everyone else on the team," says her mother. "That's the point," retorts the heroine in an oversize font. While her mother sews, Olivia's beloved green-and-red toy (who makes a comical cameo appearance in a wordless vignette on the endpapers) disappears with the turn of a page. (A clue appears in the lower right-hand corner of the illustration, where the toy is last seen.) It won't give away the fun to say that Perry-the spotted, panting pooch introduced in Olivia and who bears a certain resemblance to the sidekicks in the "Madame Olivia and her Trained Dogs" act in Olivia Saves the Circus-plays a bigger role in this episode. Once again Falconer nails common three-year-old parlance and posture. As Olivia shouts, "Where's my toy? It was right there on the bed. I just put it there. I remember exactly. That's my best toy. I need it!" the audience assumes the viewpoint of her mother, staring down into the protagonist's gaping mouth. Though it hardly seems possible, Falconer's visual and verbal narrative talents continue to grow. And so will Olivia's devotees. Ages 3-7. (Oct.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Adorable piglet Olivia must have her way when it comes to her soccer uniform. She does not want to be like everyone else and wear an unattractive green shirt. She must wear red--her favorite color. While mom sews the impatient tyke a new t-shirt, Olivia wanders outside to play with her favorite toy rag doll. After returning home, Olivia realizes the toy is missing. She has a hissy fit and searches everywhere for her beloved dolly. Finally, during a dark and stormy night, she discovers her dog chewing on the toy. Although her daddy promises to buy her a new toy, she patches the doll back together. The story humorously portrays the emotions of a young child who knows what she wants out of life. The story is brought to life in black in white drawings that are highlighted with red and green. Fonts also play a huge role in telling the tale and emphasizing the emotions involved. Olivia and the Missing Toy is a fun read for any child who has a favorite toy he or she just can't part with.
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3-Olivia is back, the indomitable individualist now coaxing her mother to make her a new soccer uniform in red, not the "really unattractive green" of the rest of the team. During the sewing session, Olivia's stuffed animal disappears and the fearless piglet must solve the mystery. She eventually tracks it down, but it is now in pieces, courtesy of the dog. Olivia's tears are surprisingly easily diverted by her father's glib promise from behind the newspaper to replace it with "the very best toy in the whole world," but the independent protagonist resews it herself and even improves on the original. Once again, the illustrations are stylish and witty, now extended by the addition of green to Falconer's trademark charcoal-and-gouache black, white, and red palette. The inclusion of photographic reproductions (the sphinx in a dream and Martha Graham on the bedroom wall) adds a nice contrast, and the endpapers show a comic strip of the little pig trying to get her toy to sit up. The changes in the size of the typeface to indicate volume of speech as Olivia interrogates her little brothers, and as her distress escalates, are hilarious. But the plot meanders a little, and it seems as though Falconer is letting style overtake story. Olivia is in danger of starting to appear more like a bratty bully than the charming nonconformist we know and love. Still, her many fans will enjoy this latest adventure of the piglet turned detective.-Jane Barrer, Washington Square Village Creative Steps, NY Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
The line-master is back . . . in perfect form. When Olivia's beloved stuffed toy disappears, the hunt proceeds in typical fashion as she falsely accuses her brothers and searches her house on a "dark and stormy night." She discovers that her dog has chewed the toy to bits. Never one to hold a grudge, she repairs the toy and forgives the offending pooch, who at book's end lies cuddled beside her in bed. This contains elements Falconer's readers love: endpapers that add a cunning fillip (Olivia's relationship with her toy), velvety monochromatic palette with accents of red and (in this entry) green, incisive characterization rendered with minimal line (the subtlest change in mother's expressions), photographic homage to a feminist icon (Martha Graham), adroit gatefold (revealing canine criminal), happy ending, and above all the ironic contrast established between subtle nuance and Olivia's over-the-top personality. Containing more full-bleed illustrations and less white space, it may not seem as elegantly designed. Yet what it sacrifices in design it gains in a more fully developed plot. The heightened atmosphere and melodrama suit Olivia just perfectly. (Picture book. 3+)
Read an Excerpt
Olivia ... And The Missing Toy
By Ian Falconer
Copyright © 2003
All right reserved.
"Where's my toy? It was right there on the bed. I just put it
there. I remember exactly. That's my best toy. I need it now!
Somebody took my best toy!"
Olivia looked everywhere -
under the rug,
under the sofa,
under the cat,
She asked her little brother, Ian,
"WHAT DID YOU DO WITH MY TOY?"
Excerpted from Olivia ... And The Missing Toy
by Ian Falconer
Copyright © 2003 by Ian Falconer.
Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.