OLIVIA by Ian Falconer
Kirkus Star

OLIVIA

by , illustrated by
Age Range: 4 - 7

KIRKUS REVIEW

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. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2000
ISBN: 0-689-82953-1
Page count: 40pp
Publisher: Atheneum
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1st, 2000




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