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by Ian Falconer & illustrated by Ian Falconer

Age Range: 3 - 6

Pub Date: Oct. 2nd, 2007
ISBN: 978-1-4169-0786-2
Publisher: Atheneum

Oh, Olivia. We thought Christmas at your house would be much more fun. Despite several amusing moments in this latest offering about Olivia the precocious pig, Falconer has neglected to fully develop the narrative line of the plot or to further Olivia’s development as a distinct character. She participates in some holiday preparations with her usual flair, such as chopping off the top of the Christmas tree for a table decoration, but other incidents fall flat, as when Olivia struggles and falls while trying to use her new Christmas skis. In a rather cheap joke, she feeds blueberry pie to her baby brother, causing immediate blue vomit, which will of course provoke laughter from youngsters but has nothing to do with Christmas. Several gatefold pages extend the holiday happenings without adding much humor; the final spread adds some sparkle with Olivia’s grandiose dream of a scene from The Nutcracker. Falconer’s charcoal and gouache illustrations are clever, as always, though it’s sometimes hard to distinguish between Olivia and her brother when they alternate between red and green clothing. The overall effect has neither Christmas cheer nor the satisfying, saucy humor of previous Olivia adventures. (Picture book. 3-6)