The Barnes & Noble Review
Olivia! She's one little piglet with imagination, direction, and an enthusiastic taste for life. And now the lovable porcine heroine is back in a counting board book, showing toddlers just how proud and charming the numbers 1 to 10 can really be.
On the beach, in bows, or wearing a scary mask, Olivia gracefully gives each number her own special style. "2 two bows" shows her wearing an adorable outfit, complete with two bright red bows on her ears, and "7 seven accessories" reveals a pleased Olivia in a red cap, with 6 other objects lying nearby. Other pages include "3 three pots of paint," "4 four aunts" looking quite authoritative, "9 nine toys," and -- the pièce de résistance -- "10 ten Olivias" in different costumes and poses.
Ian Falconer's piglet is the perfect host for counting. Olivia will keep preschoolers giggling with her expressions, and her can-do demeanor will give them confidence to learn. The author's familiar three-color charcoal and gouache illustrations are also well suited for new readers, as each red number pops from the page, helping them recognize it at once. A playful companion to Olivia's Opposites, Olivia Counts is a lesson in learning with attitude. (Matt Warner)
What better way for toddlers to learn the basics than with two board books starring Ian Falconer's Olivia? Youngsters start with one ball at the beach (in the signature red-and-white stripes) and finish with ten Olivias jumping rope, doing handstands and sprawling on a beach towel in Olivia Counts. A red numeral accompanies each scene. In Olivia's Opposites she demonstrates word pairs with comic flair (for instance, she models a scarlet evening gown for long and a red tutu for short). Both feature b&w and red illustrations from Falconer's Caldecott Honor book, Olivia, and its companion, Olivia Saves the Circus. (June) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
There she is in all her glory. Olivia has red ribbons on her ears, red striped panty hose and a red purse. She is ready to help kids learn to count from one to ten. It is one big beach ball, two bows, and so on from one up to seven. Then a very sophisticated word is introduced, "accessories." Accessories include Olivia's beads, shirt, glasses, and a several other items. Next it is on to eight cousins (I do believe that is a pretty well-known children's book popular some many years ago), nine toys, and the grand finale—a presentation of ten Olivias. It is amusing and also remarkable what Falconer can produce with just black and red in his charcoal and gouache illustrations. 2002, Atheneum/Simon & Schuster,
In Counts, sketches in charcoal and gouache depict the piglet with one ball, two bows, three pots of paint, etc., up to a final spread of 10, with Olivia performing different stunts and in different outfits or accessories. In Opposites, she wears a long evening dress and a short tutu; is intimidated by a loud lion before bellowing back; appears in a plain pair of red briefs, then is decked out with fancy red heels, bows, lipstick, and jewelry. Of the two, Opposites is totally engaging; Counts is an additional choice for young fans.-Sally R. Dow, Ossining Public Library, NY Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
You can count on Falconer (Olivia's Opposites) to keep adding droll, imaginative appearances for his precocious porcine protagonist, the inimitable Olivia. In this shorter format with sturdy, laminated pages, there is no real story, just Olivia showing us a few of her favorite things, from one red and white beach ball to ten different views of herself (several with echoes from her first story). Falconer continues his use of subtle charcoal gray shades, and he returns to Olivia's favorite choice of lipstick red for her outfits, accessories, and toys. He also introduces four aunts and eight cousins (all in sober gray), who look as though they need jazzing up by Olivia in a future story, perhaps with her three pots of paint. The cover shows Olivia in her plaid school jumper against a gray chalkboard with the numerals from one to ten, with the number seven drawn European-style. Probably this style of numeral isn't the best idea for the target readership, but isn't that just the sort of thing that Olivia would do? This simple but satisfying work can serve as an introduction for younger preschoolers to the two longer Olivia stories, and Olivia's adoring fans of all ages will give three cheers for any new Olivia tale, long or short.