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OLIVIA’S OPPOSITES by Ian Falconer Kirkus Star


by Ian Falconer & illustrated by Ian Falconer

Age Range: 2 - 4

Pub Date: June 1st, 2002
ISBN: 0-689-85088-3
Publisher: Anne Schwartz/Atheneum

She’s up; she’s down. She’s plain; she’s fancy (very fancy), because Olivia the piglet is definitely a star character with a firm sense of style. Her creator has fashioned a clever and quite successful explanation of the concept of opposites, presented in board format with laminated pages. In just six pairs of opposites, he shows contrasts in motions, sound, and appearance, with lots of action and humor to make both preschoolers and their parents smile. Olivia zips onto the page on her scooter to illustrate “coming,” and then zooms right off the next page with a handstand on the scooter handles to demonstrate “going.” In another delightful pairing, Olivia is “quiet,” while a lion from her circus days is “loud,” and on the next page, it’s Olivia who is loud, and the lion that is quiet and meek. The final word pair shows Olivia’s mouth wide “open” and then “closed,” echoing the parallel construct of an open and closed book. Falconer (Olivia Counts, above, etc.) again uses charcoal and gouache for his illustrations, creating a sophisticated palette of gray, black, and white with Olivia’s favorite bright red for her clothing and accessories. Surely Olivia needs to learn her alphabet and identify colors beyond red next. Have we had enough of Olivia? Quite the opposite. (Board book. 2-4)