Olivia Helps with Christmas

( 31 )

Overview

Deck your shelves!

Everyone's favorite Caldecott Honor-winning porcine heroine and #1 Kris Kringle enthusiast is helping to make the season brighter than ever. Christmas is coming, and Olivia is incredibly busy. She has to wait for Santa, make sure Dad sets up the tree, wait for Santa, watch Mom make the Christmas dinner, wait for Santa, oversee the care with which the stockings are hung, and, of course, open her presents! Do you see how hard it is to be so helpful during the ...

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Overview

Deck your shelves!

Everyone's favorite Caldecott Honor-winning porcine heroine and #1 Kris Kringle enthusiast is helping to make the season brighter than ever. Christmas is coming, and Olivia is incredibly busy. She has to wait for Santa, make sure Dad sets up the tree, wait for Santa, watch Mom make the Christmas dinner, wait for Santa, oversee the care with which the stockings are hung, and, of course, open her presents! Do you see how hard it is to be so helpful during the holidays? A lovingly told and lavishly illustrated Olivia Helps with Christmas is the perfect stuffing for any stocking, and the newest star atop the Olivia series.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Olivia is an energetic, very feminine porcine who, like any other anthropomorphic pig, eagerly awaits the holidays each year. This Christmas is different. Our corpulent little piglet can barely contain herself as she and her parents prepare for the big day. Olivia Helps with Christmas will escalate the excitement of any holiday countdown. More magical than any visions of sugarplums dancing.
Julie Just
Falconer's clever illustrations—in charcoal, gouache and photo montage—tell us one thing while his story is telling us another…Olivia charms by throwing herself into whatever she does…
—The New York Times
Publishers Weekly

More a succession of family anecdotes-in-the-making than a plot-driven story, the holiday installment of a much-loved series finds the adroitly accessorized piglet and her family decking the halls of a house in the country on Christmas Eve. Olivia, charged with "a very special job" (Mom-speak for interrupting the "Santa watch" Olivia and her younger brothers mount by the rain-streaked picture window), proudly shows off the table she has set by herself, topped with a decorated miniature tree: "Why, that's beautiful, darling. Where did you ever find that perfect little . . . " her mother beams; open the gatefold to see the rest of the room, where a saw and a stool stand next to the family's (decapitated) " . . . tree?" as the mother falteringly completes the question. Readers will claim other episodes as their own favorites; as usual, Falconer knows how to play pictures and text off each other to maximum comic impact. Ages 3-7. (Oct.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
School Library Journal

PreS-Gr 2-Children who are familiar with this irrepressible pig will know what kind of help Olivia is likely to provide as her family prepares for the holiday. Her antics seem a little forced in this selection, but the dazzling illustrations, highlighted with green as well as Olivia's signature red, are as charming as ever; and the ending-a snowy Christmas-is quite satisfying. This is a good bet for family sharing.-Virginia Walter, University of California, Los Angeles

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Kirkus Reviews
Oh, Olivia. We thought Christmas at your house would be much more fun. Despite several amusing moments in this latest offering about Olivia the precocious pig, Falconer has neglected to fully develop the narrative line of the plot or to further Olivia's development as a distinct character. She participates in some holiday preparations with her usual flair, such as chopping off the top of the Christmas tree for a table decoration, but other incidents fall flat, as when Olivia struggles and falls while trying to use her new Christmas skis. In a rather cheap joke, she feeds blueberry pie to her baby brother, causing immediate blue vomit, which will of course provoke laughter from youngsters but has nothing to do with Christmas. Several gatefold pages extend the holiday happenings without adding much humor; the final spread adds some sparkle with Olivia's grandiose dream of a scene from The Nutcracker. Falconer's charcoal and gouache illustrations are clever, as always, though it's sometimes hard to distinguish between Olivia and her brother when they alternate between red and green clothing. The overall effect has neither Christmas cheer nor the satisfying, saucy humor of previous Olivia adventures. (Picture book. 3-6)
Children's Literature - Susan Treadway
Whether readers jump in with great expectations for another hilarious riveting Olivia adventure, or simply seeking a warm welcome to the marvelous Christmas season, Olivia fans will not be disappointed with this classic board book. Bright red and green highlight key elements on every page as traditional family preparations flood hearts with similar customs and easily bring treasured memories to mind. From the very first scene to the final "act," Miss Olivia exhibits her exquisite charming qualities with unabashed self-confidence about every essential step as Falconer shares his own childhood traditions throughout. However, it should be noted, Santa Claus is referred to multiple times with great anticipation, but never literally seen which is by the author's design. Even so, splendid facial expressions with ?hair-raising' pointy ears bring personalities to life for mom, dad, Olivia and her two brothers. Not exactly a story with building plot lines or intrigue, this sentimental rendering about Olivia and her growing family (pets included) still infuses characteristic humor with a fabulous surprise or two to bring readers of all ages back again and again. Reviewer: Susan Treadway
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781416907862
  • Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
  • Publication date: 10/2/2007
  • Series: Olivia Series
  • Pages: 58
  • Sales rank: 551,848
  • Age range: 3 - 7 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.30 (w) x 11.20 (h) x 0.60 (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 4
( 31 )
Rating Distribution

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(18)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 31 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 25, 2007

    Deck the hall's with Olivia!

    Fa la la la la la!Olivia has made her way into town! Watching for Santa out the window, setting the table, and sticking her snout up the chimney!Who could not resist the soot on her snout? Untangling light's! Get ready, Olivia is ready for Christmas!

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 2, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    'NOT A PIGLET WAS STIRRING'

    Many young readers have already met and fallen in love with Olivia, the perkiest porker to be found. If your favorite school-ager hasn't had the pleasure yet, now is a perfect time as Olivia gets into the spirit of the holiday season. Ian Falconer's illustrations are irresistible as is his text which is liberally sprinkled with quips. Who could resist smiling when Olivia gets soot on her snout as she peers up the chimney looking for Santa? Her family goes through the traditional pre-Christmas rituals, singing carols, trimming the tree (as Olivia tangles herself in strings of lights), and leaving a snack for St. Nick. We're treated to both visual and verbal gifts from the irrepressible Mr. Falconer on the night when 'not a piglet was stirring' (supposedly). - Gail Cooke

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 23, 2007

    ho ho ho

    Olivia is decking the hall's! Ian Falconer has made other funny books, but this one is his best yet!!!!If it's untangling lights,to setting the table, or watching Santa Claus, Olivia well make your Christmas a holly jolly one!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 8, 2007

    Over the Top!

    Ian Falconer is brilliant! This book captures 'the most wonderful time of the year' in the most wonderful writing and illustrating of the year. His mixed media illustrations are especially delightful. A 'must read' for the holiday season, and absolutely a 'must have' for Olivia fans.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 25, 2011

    Delightful reading for the whole family!

    5 stars
    Great fun. Dame Edna's voice adds to the excitement of the season. Worth listening to!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 29, 2010

    ha ha

    i loved this fun filled book jk i didnt

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 6, 2010

    Olivia is magical at Christmass too

    Gave to a grandchild with an "Olivia " quilt and read it on Cristmas day, what a memory.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 23, 2009

    Olivia Helps With Christmas is my favorite Olivia book.

    I love the Olivia character because she is very precocious. The books have a lot of layers to them. There is always some infering that goes on. My favorite part of Olivia Helps with Christmas is when the dad goes to build a fire and Olivia stops him until after Santa's visit.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 16, 2009

    Classic Olivia...

    As always Olivia is good for a hearty laugh... If you like children's books, Olivia is a must.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 12, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Great Book!

    My daughter loved this book, she loves to have me read it over and over again. I've also noticed that she shares it with all of her cousins and friends. It's so funny to hear her compare how she helps out the same way Olivia does. The pictures are amazing and so realistic, it's a great way to spark the imagination and interest in books at an early age. My daughter loves reading and she really enjoyed the Olivia collection.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 9, 2009

    You've Got to Love Olivia!

    Another in a truly classic character - - to be read again and again!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 16, 2007

    Excellent Story

    This is a very excellent Christmas story! This story is about little Olivia helping with Christmas to make it enjoyable for everyone. It's such a cute and touching story that everyone can enjoy reading together.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 18, 2013

    Lovein it

    This is so freakin awsome

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 2, 2009

    Great book once again about Olivia!

    I haven't brought it back to my daughter who is now living with her mother in MD. Actually, we decide hold it until next Xmas to have it given as part of the present. We do like the book and are sure our daughter will, too.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 12, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 14, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 10, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 8, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 17, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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