Olivia Saves the Circus

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Overview

At school, Olivia tells about her summer vacation and how, when she went to the circus and all the performers were out sick, she saved the day, becoming Olivia the Tattooed Lady, Olivia the Lion Tamer, The Amazing Flying Olivia, and more.
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Overview

At school, Olivia tells about her summer vacation and how, when she went to the circus and all the performers were out sick, she saved the day, becoming Olivia the Tattooed Lady, Olivia the Lion Tamer, The Amazing Flying Olivia, and more.
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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
Everyone's favorite pig is back in this charming sequel to Ian Falconer's Caldecott Award-winning Olivia. Standing proud in her adorably accessorized school uniform, Olivia recounts her adventurous summer vacation, which was highlighted by a trip to the circus that led to a heroic and hilarious performance from the petite pig. Upon arrival at the big top, she learned that all the circus people were out sick with ear infections. "Luckily I knew how to do everything," she says. We see Olivia the Lion Tamer (her grisly growl frightens the biggest lion) and Olivia the Tightrope Walker. Madame Olivia and her Trained Dogs will evoke a big chuckle as the pooches turn out to be a hilariously inept bunch. At the end, Olivia's boastful account leaves the teacher scowling at her desk. When asked if her wild story is true, Olivia politely responds, "Pretty all true."

From the sassy piglet's school uniform to her unmatched determination to know everything, Olivia is a favorite among kids and adults, and her trademark humor and energy fill the pages of this amusing tale. Falconer portrays the portly pig as rambunctious but still lovable. This little darling exhibits the proud boldness recognizable in many preschoolers. Olivia'a imagination will also ring familiar with readers who have told more than their share of "pretty all true" stores. Once again, Falconer uses a palette consisting mostly of greys, black, white, and reds. Donning several different outfits, including a sweet clown suit, Olivia is sure to be a fashion icon to the pre-K sect in no time.

Get your hands on this little piggie and kids will giggle with glee, parents will smile knowingly, and Olivia will probably sit back and say, "See? Told ya so." (Amy Barkat)

From The Critics
The expressive young pig who wowed readers in Olivia is back in all her glory. Like the first book, this one is short on plot but long on charm. Olivia rushes through the morning making pancakes and accessorizing her boring school uniform before dashing off on her scooter to school. Asked to report on her summer vacation, Olivia spins a yarn about how she saved the circus, playing all roles from lion tamer to trapeze artist when the performers were out sick. Outstanding graphic design and color choices, plus lots of humor, make this book as irresistible as its main character.
—Kathleen Odean

Publishers Weekly
Could there be a more ideal place for Olivia than in the center ring under the Big Top? It will come as no surprise to her many fans that this is how Olivia claims to have spent her summer vacation. Using the same day-in-the-life format as his show-stopping debut (Olivia), Falconer shows Olivia making pancakes for her two brothers (including new addition William) before school. "This is a big help to her mother," accompanies a picture of utter chaos in the kitchen. The heroine adds her signature red accoutrements to her "really boring uniform," then heads to the classroom where it's her turn to tell about her summer ("Olivia always blossoms in front of an audience"); she holds both teacher and students (and readers) rapt as she describes her trip to the circus. "All the circus people were out sick with ear infections," says Olivia. "Luckily I knew how to do everything." Falconer outdoes himself with theatrical scenes of the diminutive leading lady teetering on top of an elephant's head, walking on stilts and, in a four-page fold-out spread, as "Queen of the Trampoline" flying off the trapeze and somersaulting in the air (the outline of her porkish figure trapped in the trampoline netting is worth the price of admission). He once again demonstrates how attuned he is to the way a child thinks when, at the very end of her share, in tiny typeface, Olivia tacks on a shred of truth, "Then one time my dad took me sailing The End." This star's numerous spectators can only hope that she will have many encores. Ages 3-7. (Oct.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature
Olivia, the irrepressible pig/child, is back, this time with a new little brother William to go along with her old little brother Ian. Olivia gets dressed in her boring uniform which she "accessorizes" with red ribbons, red striped socks, a red purse and red hat. At school, she volunteers to tell about her vacation and, always at her best in front of an audience, invents a fine day at the circus when she takes the place of all performers who have suddenly been stricken with ear infections. As Olivia's imagination takes over, pictures show her dressed in muted pink and black, taming lions, juggling, riding a unicycle and in a superfluous (but no doubt child-pleasing) gatefold, performing trampoline and trapeze acts. Back in real time, her teacher asks if this is true and Olivia says that it's pretty true, to the best of her recollection. Then it's home and bedtime and a reminder from Mom not to jump on the bed—"What do you think you are¾Olivia, Queen of the Trampoline?" which echoes a line from Olivia's fabricated story. Falconer's artwork is smoothly rendered in black and gray charcoal and gouache with crisp eye-catching red. While the story is not as fresh as Falconer's award-drenched Olivia, both younger and older fans of the first book as well as new fans will enjoy another chance to laugh at this Eloise-like, self-assured child, er, piglet. 2001, Anne Schwartz/Atheneum, $16.00. Ages 3 to 7. Reviewer: Susan Hepler
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2-Just one year after the auspicious debut of a precocious, multitalented young piglet comes an encore performance. The circus performers are sick with ear infections, but, luckily for all, Olivia knows "how to do everything." She walks on stilts, juggles, clowns, walks the tightrope, and tames the lions. Best of all, in a spectacular double gatefold, she is Flying Olivia (trapeze artist) and Olivia, Queen of the Trampoline. The presentation of these two acts as one gracefully flowing motion from trapeze to trampoline to trapeze is a virtuoso performance graphically as well. The story of the little pig at the circus is framed within the context of a school day when it is the youngster's turn to tell about her summer vacation, and, as we know already, "Olivia always blossoms in front of an audience." The endpapers, front matter, and first pages of the story repeat motifs from the earlier book. Charcoal-and-line drawings are brilliantly accented with the piglet's flair for red clothing and accessories. When Olivia's imagination takes over at the circus, the bright-red accents change to a softer, peachy-pink hue. As in Olivia (Atheneum, 2000), the tone is witty and understated. Dialogue is minimal, but nonetheless brimming with humorous undertones. This story is more complex than the first, and, in a few instances, one wishes for smoother narrative transitions. However, Falconer has successfully sustained and built upon his delightfully original portrayal of the feisty Olivia, her vivid imagination, and her strong sense of self.-Dorian Chong, School of Library and Information Science, San Jose State University, CA Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Child Magazine
A Child Magazine Best Book of 2001 Pick

When it's Olivia's turn to tell her classmates about her vacation, the little pig spins an outrageous fib about her imaginary circus exploits. Falconer serves up second helpings of his precocious porker with gusto, dressing the pages in shades of black and white splashed with red and crowned with understated humor.

Kirkus Reviews
She's b-a-a-c-k. The precocious star, in her trademark red, has started school, where she's required to wear a boring uniform. Lucky for Olivia she has a gift for accessorizing. Taking her turn to tell the class about her vacation is a proud moment: "Olivia always blossoms in front of an audience," the text states in a case of absurd understatement. It is at this precise page turn that Olivia starts to tell her fantasy story and the artist's palette turns from red and charcoal, to bright salmon and charcoal. The circus performers are sick and Olivia is able stand in for them all. "Luckily I knew how to do everything," she declares with typical Olivia humility. She is everything from Olivia the Clown to Olivia the Tightrope Walker, wearing an assortment of salmon-and-charcoal outfits, her mouth set in a purposeful (never fearful) line. So adroitly does Falconer charm and entertain, that it is easy to overlook the consummate skill required to completely capture personality in spare line and economical text. Sly, ironic details and superb book and page design support the effort. Two spreads open into four: simply captioned "Olivia Queen of the Trampoline," it alternates Olivia flying into the air, her shadow cast precisely onto the trampoline and Olivia as she disappears face down and then rear end down, leaving nice impressions of her very distinguishing features. A photograph of Eleanor Roosevelt hangs over her bed, an apt model for a determined young woman, unquestionably destined for greatness. Fans will not be disappointed by this uniquely new sequel.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780689829543
  • Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
  • Publication date: 10/1/2001
  • Series: Olivia Series
  • Pages: 44
  • Sales rank: 104,805
  • Age range: 3 - 7 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.80 (w) x 11.20 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Ian Falconer
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

Read an Excerpt

Of course you can always accessorize.
Beep, beep -- coming through.

"I was Olivia the Tattooed Lady. I drew the pictures on with marker.
"Then I was Olivia the Lion Tamer ...

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Table of Contents

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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

Average Rating 4
( 23 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 23 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 29, 2012

    highly recommended!

    My daughter and I loved the original Olivia book, and we love this one as well! Great book!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 22, 2011

    Not working.

    I just wanted to download this book on a Macbook pro and also on an Ipad2 and unfortunately didn't work. Don't waste your money if you want to use it on those devices. This kind of book only works on Nookcolor. They should say that before you do the purchase.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 6, 2011

    this book is great for children

    i am 14 and i still love this book. it is a great story for people of any age. i love it!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 6, 2010

    what a magical childrens' book

    I bought this fun book for my grandaughter "Olivia" for Christmas and she loved it and will hopefully p ass it down to her children someday.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 2, 2009

    Olivia Saves the Circus

    My son has all of the Olivia books he loves them all. He's almost two but he know's his Olivia books. He really pays attention to them and laughs at certain pages especially when it Olivia Queen of the Trampoline. This book and all of the others are quite hysterical Olivia can really tell a tale when it comes to this book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 12, 2008

    love it!

    I came across this book for a children's literature class and I have fallen in love with the "Olivia" series! The illustrations are delightfully simple as are the storylines. In this book, Olivia tells her summer vacation story about visiting the circus. When she gets there, all of the performers are sick and she must fulfill their duties; so she becomes a lion tamer, a clown, a dog trainer, and much more. Like all of the "Olivia" books, Olivia shows off that she is an independent individual; she is so confident in her accessorized school uniform. I love that that message is being sent. Oh, and the picture of Eleanor Roosevelt reinforces this idea (one of those "adult gems" found in great children's books). All in all, Olivia Saves the Circus is a top notch book perfect for any home or classroom collection! Recommended Ages: 4-7

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 22, 2007

    Olivia's big adventure!

    In this book Olivia is asked by her teacher to tell what happened during her vacation. She tells of how she went to the circus, but all the circus performers where sick. Of course, Olivia must come to rescue! She says, ¿Luckily I knew how to do everything¿. She tells of how she juggled, tamed lions, and walked a tight rope. This is a fantasy book and is appropriate for children ages 5-7. I thought this was an entertaining story. I think kids could really relate to Olivia with her ¿big¿ imagination. This book was a 2001 Caldecott Honor Book among many other awards. It was written and illustrated by Ian Falconer, who lives in New York City. When Mr. Falconer isn¿t telling Olivia's stories he is designing sets and costumes for the New York City Ballet, the San Francisco Opera, and the Royal Opera House in London. Falconer, Ian. Olivia Saves The Circus. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2001.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 29, 2003

    Olivia Saves the Circus

    This book is wonderful I have a daughter named Olivia and I could see her doing the same things. It is a fun and imaginative story. I hope there are more to come.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 26, 2002

    Good read for a 2 1/2 year and older

    My granddaughter is very similar to Olivia and relates to her easily. One of her favorite books. She answers to Olivia when she is being naughty.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 24, 2001

    Olivia¿s Mind and Body Soar!

    Reading to your child is great for both of you. Your child will learn new things, become a better reader, and have an increased interest in reading. You will both enjoy a stronger bond as well. Olivia Saves the Circus is a fine book for these purposes. This book is superb for prereaders as well as beginning readers. The wonderful charcoal and gouache illustrations make the story easy to follow and memorize for the nonreader, and provide helpful clues to the words for the new reader. My guess is that while this book will appeal to both girls and boys, very few girls will fail to be charmed by its profile of a very self-confident young lady pig. If you loved Olivia, you will probably be delighted with Olivia Saves the Circus. If you haven¿t read Olivia, Ian Falconer does a nice job of establishing Olivia¿s personality in this book¿s beginning so that you can enjoy Olivia Saves the Circus without having read Olivia. The combination of Ian Falconer¿s words and illustrations come together to create many subtle effects that many will not notice until the fourth or fifth reading. I think of Olivia as Miss Piggy in a family, and Olivia carries on those qualities again here. Olivia is independent, self-confident, and unfazed by anything. On the inside of the front and back covers, Olivia ¿walks¿ the cat by bodily carrying the cat in and out of an area behind two doors, while leaving both doors wide open. In the opening scene, Olivia is making breakfast. ¿Before school, Olivia likes to make pancakes for her new little brother, William, and her old little brother, Ian.¿ ¿This is a big help to her mother.¿ The two accompanying illustrations show two happy little boys chowing down . . . and then a kitchen sink area covered with dirty pots and pans with spills everywhere! Next, Olivia gets ready for school, disliking her plain gray plaid and white uniform. ¿Of course you can always accessorize.¿ And she adds red ribbons to her ears, a red pocketbook, red and white tights and undershirt with the arms showing, a red back pack and a red helmet. Red clothes are strewn all over her room. She heads to school on her little scooter, ¿Beep, beep -- coming through.¿ This is her day to tell about her summer vacation. Two events happened. ¿One day my mother took Ian and me to the circus.¿ ¿But when we got there, all the circus people were out sick with ear infections.¿ ¿Luckily I knew how to do everything.¿ Olivia is shown riding into the big top on the head of a an elephant leading a string of others. She takes her clothes off and uses a marker to be the Tattooed Lady. She is the Olivia the Lion Tamer, by roaring at the lion and cowing it. Next, she appears as Olivia, the Tight-rope Walker. ¿And I walked on stilts and juggled and was Olivia the Clown and rode a unicycle.¿ Her biggest event involved being Flying Olivia on the trapeze, who fell to a trampoline (becoming Queen of the Trampoline), bounced up and down, and flew back up onto the trapeze to complete her aerial performance. These six pages are brilliantly combined. You start with the two trapeze pages (numbers one and six in the sequence) facing each other, then when you open the two pages, you will find the connecting four pages (numbers two through five in the sequence) involving the trampoline. Children will go wild for this section! ¿And that¿s how I saved the circus, and now I am famous.¿ The summer¿s second event was less dramatic. ¿Then one time my dad took me sailing. The End.¿ ¿Was that true?¿ was Olivia¿s teacher¿s question. ¿Pretty true.¿ ¿All true?¿ ¿Pretty all true.¿ ¿Are you sure, Olivia?¿ ¿To the best of my recollection.¿ Arriving home, Olivia¿s mother asks her what went on in school that day. ¿Nothing.¿ (Do you every hear that?) When it¿s time to go to bed, Olivia isn¿t sleepy. Her mother cautions her not to jump on the bed, and then catches Olivia doing in mid-air. ¿Who do you

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 24, 2001

    'when i grow up, i wanna write children's books!'

    Olivia Saves the Circus, the sequal to Olivia, is super cute! I found myself browsing the children's books at Barne's and Noble for inspiration. You see, I'm an ex interior design major, currently undecided major, that wants to write children's books when i grow up! Olivia Saves the Circus is a super special book, one that every mommy and dad should read to their kids! yay!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 10, 2002

    Another great Olivia story

    Another funny Olivia story! This book is great for asking your own kids if they think Olivia's story is true or if she is making it all up! A very good, light-hearted story to read. Pure enjoyment.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted September 15, 2011

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    Posted January 27, 2011

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    Posted April 12, 2011

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    Posted June 22, 2011

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    Posted December 8, 2010

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    Posted May 4, 2011

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    Posted June 27, 2011

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    Posted December 15, 2009

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