Olivia Goes to Venice

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Overview

In her first brand new adventure in three years, Olivia takes her discerning eye for style to beautiful Venice on a family vacation that involves dodging pigeons in the Piazza San Marco, gorging on gelato, and barely staying afloat in a gondola.

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Overview

In her first brand new adventure in three years, Olivia takes her discerning eye for style to beautiful Venice on a family vacation that involves dodging pigeons in the Piazza San Marco, gorging on gelato, and barely staying afloat in a gondola.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The irrepressible Olivia is back--this time on a trip to Venice that hits the tourist hotspots and allows Olivia to be her precocious porcine best. The plot is episodic, but Caldecott Honor artist Falconer’s inventive and droll artwork offers exuberance (and gelato) in nearly every scene, and Olivia’s curiosity and strong sense of self remain intact. The contrast between the antic lines of the charcoal and gouache paintings superimposed over gorgeous color photographs provides much hilarity. As Olivia plaintively holds out corn kernels at the Piazza San Marco, a page turn shows her face full of horror as the pigeons descend like Hitchcock’s birds. Falconer’s understated text is both witty and subtle; when the gondola emerges from under the Bridge of Sighs, “Olivia sighed.” And he remains attuned to the way children think; when Olivia is searched at the airport for weapons, “She was very pleased.” The preposterous ending involves Olivia’s finding the perfect souvenir (“one of the actual Stones of Venice”) and the resulting collapse of a bell tower. This comic sequel is as delightful as its predecessors. Ages 3-7. (Sept.)
From the Publisher
*"The irrepressible Olivia is back. . . . This comic sequel is as delightful as its predecessors." — Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

"Fans of this series will no doubt find this title humorous and enjoy the piglet’s newest adventure." — School Library Journal

From the Publisher
*"The irrepressible Olivia is back. . . . This comic sequel is as delightful as its predecessors." — Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

"Fans of this series will no doubt find this title humorous and enjoy the piglet’s newest adventure." — School Library Journal

Children's Literature - Mary Hynes-Berry
The irrepressible Olivia the Pig is off to Venice for spring vacation. She rather enjoys the search for weapons at the airport but is truly enthusiastic to discover that pizza and ice cream—make that "gelato"—are available everywhere. Falconer's whimsical tale about this piglet of strong opinions takes on an Italian flavoras images of Venice's iconic landmarks fill thepages.. At first, the sightseeing goes smoothly: Olivia feeds the pigeons in San Marco Square and sighs as their gondola passes under the Bridge of Sighs. But when she takes one of the famous stones of Venice from the Bell Tower, the Olivia effect kicks in. Her mother warns her that if everyone went off with a piece of Venice, the city would fall down. Olivia holds on to her stone and the family heads off to the airport as the Bell Tower of San Marco crumbles into rubble. It's hard to tell who will enjoy this sixth "Olivia" adventure more—the young listener or the adult reading it. Reviewer: Mary Hynes-Berry
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 3—Olivia tops her past ventures and escapades when she convinces her family to spend spring vacation in Venice. They wander over many bridges, are enchanted by the beautiful palazzos on the Grand Canal, and feed the pigeons. The pigs consume numerous gelatos and almost sink a gondola from the extra weight they've put on. Of course, Olivia wants to remember her lovely vacation, so she brings home something unique from the city. Her choice is so Olivia, and the Venetians will never forget her for it either. Charcoal and gouache illustrations and photos of the city are digitally enhanced and provide a similar feel to Laurent de Brunhoff's Babar's USA (Abrams, 2008 ). Fans of this series will no doubt find this title humorous and enjoy the piglet's newest adventure.—Anne Beier, Hendrick Hudson Free Library, Montrose, NY
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781416996743
  • Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
  • Publication date: 9/28/2010
  • Series: Olivia Series
  • Pages: 48
  • Sales rank: 122,136
  • Age range: 3 - 7 Years
  • Lexile: AD520L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 8.70 (w) x 11.10 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Ian Falconer

Ian Falconer is the author and illustrator of the Olivia book series. The character of Olivia—a precocious little pig who loves fashion, ballet, opera, and getting her own way—is based on Falconer's real-life niece. Falconer's illustrations have graced numerous 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, among others. He lives in Los Angeles.

Ian Falconer is the author and illustrator of the Olivia book series. The character of Olivia—a precocious little pig who loves fashion, ballet, opera, and getting her own way—is based on Falconer's real-life niece. Falconer's illustrations have graced numerous 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, among others. He lives in Los Angeles.

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

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3
( 53 )
Rating Distribution

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(12)

4 Star

(9)

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(7)

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(19)

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(6)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 53 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 8, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    OLIVIA CONTINUES TO CAPTURE YOUNG HEARTS

    While it's always difficult to resist that perky little porker, Olivia, it's impossible now that she's visiting one of the most beautiful cities in the world - Venice. Yes, sporting a gondolier's hat with its ribbons flying she's about to take that storied spot by storm. (almost literally).

    As most know by now Ian Falconer has created one of the most appealing children's book characters to be found. Olivia,along with her brother, Ian, and their mother and father have shared many adventures - from forming a band to visiting a circus to preparing for Christmas. Now, they're off to Italy.

    It's spring vacation and Olivia wants to take along her snorkel, flippers and water skis lest the city is under water - mother prevails. Happy to hear that she'll find pizza and ice cream everywhere Olivia enjoys their overseas flight.

    Upon seeing the beautiful Grand Canal lined with incredible palazzos Olivia begs to live in one of the palazzos. Of course, she was disappointed when this couldn't happen but a gelato or three cheered her. They're all overwhelmed by how much there is to see - Piazza San Marco, the bevy of pigeons, the gondolas, the Rialto Bridge, the Bridge of Sighs.

    Everything about Venice is grandly overwhelming to Olivia and she decides she must find the perfect souvenir of their trip. Young readers will laugh and be surprised at exactly what that is.......as well as its effects upon the city.

    The Olivia stores simply become more delightful with each telling.

    - Gail Cooke

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 2, 2011

    First time reader, but will be getting more!

    My 3 1/2 year old received this book as a Christmas gift. We just had a chance to read it and it was great. She enjoyed the illustrations and asked questions. It has sparked my curiosity for other Olivia books!

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 1, 2010

    Adorable story...but you must know Venice to truly appreciate it!

    We travel to the beautiful city of Venice often and so I ordered this book for my six year old, who adores both Olivia and Venezia, even before it was released. We read it together with such delight! But I will admit the reader should know a bit about Venice and its history to truly appreciate the humor of the ending (I won't give it away other than to say that it has to do with a real event that occurred in Venice in the early 1900s.) I know we will read and re-read this story many times to come.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 10, 2011

    Olivia

    this is such a great book and great for kids of all ages.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 30, 2010

    Great

    I am in 6th grade and I even read it. This book is great for all ages. We read it in latin class amazing!!!!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 16, 2010

    nice

    nice

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 4, 2010

    Sumptuous illustrations and piggy hilarity

    This is our favorite book of the Olivia series (so far). Layers of drawings, painting and antique photos make up a fantastically rich story with Olivia busy as usual. The drawings of the gondoliers and family are hysterical. My kids love this and i can stare at the drawings forever. We hope this isn't the last-they get better and better!

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