Modern Classic: Olivia by Ian Falconer

7 Jul

OliviaOlivia (©2000) written and illustrated by Ian Falconer is a slice-of-life story about a spirited young pig. Olivia loves to play dress up, build sandcastles at the beach, and visit the art museum with her mother. When Olivia sees her favorite painting of ballet dancers, she imagines herself as a ballerina dancing on a grand stage. The illustrations – sparse black-and-white drawings with pops of red – earned the book a Caldecott honor.

Olivia Goes to VeniceIn Olivia Goes to Venice (©2010) readers follow the precocious pig on a whirlwind adventure to Italy! Olivia and her family take a vacation to Venice, full of sightseeing, gondola rides through the Grand Canal, and lots and lots of gelato. The story is cute, of course, but the illustrations are absolutely inspired. Falconer uses photographs of Venice as the backdrop for his hand-drawn characters.

Olivia goes to Venice 2

Excerpt from “Olivia Goes to Venice” (©2010). Click to view larger.

Olivia and the Fairy PrincessesMy personal favorite of the series is the recent installment, Olivia and the Fairy Princesses (©2012). Olivia is having an identity crisis. All the other little girls want to be pink-clad princesses, but Olivia wants to stand out from the crowd. Olivia asks some important questions, and wonders why princesses are always associated with glitter and pink (“There are alternatives,” she says). Her quest for individuality will make readers smile – and think.

Olivia and the Fairy Princesses 2

Excerpt from “Olivia and the Fairy Princesses” (©2012). Click to view larger.

Olivia and the Fairy Princesses 3

Excerpt from “Olivia and the Fairy Princesses” (©2012). Click to view larger.

Fans of classics like Eloise and Madeline will love Olivia. I recommend this series for ages 3-7.

Other Books in the Olivia Series:

Olivia Saves the Circus (©2001)
Olivia . . . and the Missing Toy (©2003)
Olivia Forms a Band (©2006)
Olivia Helps with Christmas (©2007)

Can’t get enough Olivia? In 2009, Nickelodeon created an animated series based on the character. Amazon Prime members can stream the first season for free!

One Response to “Modern Classic: Olivia by Ian Falconer”

  1. mommynificent July 17, 2014 at 4:29 am #

    Olivia is such a character! I hadn’t seen the fairy princesses one yet. Looks brilliant! Thanks for sharing it at Booknificent Thursday! Be sure to check out the giveaway this week!

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