Equal parts endearing and impetuous, Ian Falconer's acclaimed star, Olivia, appears in an unabridged board book version of the Caldecott Honor title. In our Best Books citation, PW wrote, "With a masterful use of black line, a minimum of details, a judicious use of the color red and a few choice words, Falconer invents an unforgettable porcine heroine." Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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
Children's Literature - Tiffany Torbeck
This modern classic is available as a book plus CD. The work of Ian Falconer comes together with the haughty voice of Dame Edna and interludes of classical music that give movement to the illustrations. For instance, the spread of Olivia trying on all of her clothes is accompanied by a dizzying flurry of music. Also, while in the museum, Olivia dreams of being a ballerina while Tchaikovsky plays on. Dame Edna's signature voice sounds just right for a little pig that is all at once exhausting and adorable. The only downside to this recording is that it does not include cues for the page turns, sometimes leaving the reader behind in the action. Overall this is a very enjoyable pairing that will delight many new and old Olivia fans. Reviewer: Tiffany Torbeck
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.|
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
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.
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.
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.
From the Publisher
Dame Joan Sutherland Every granny will recognize and love Olivia and her theatrical desires!
Hilary Knight Eloise has met her match! We love Olivia!
Mikhail Baryshnikov Many dream of dancing on the stage, but Olivia has the legs for it.
David Hockney Olivia's grasp of abstract composition is extraordinary for a six-year-old.
Gloria Steinem At last, a pig with self-esteem!