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Olivia [Hardcover]

Ian Falconer
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (102 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 22.99
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Kindle Edition --  
Hardcover CDN $11.62  
Hardcover, Oct. 1 2000 CDN $16.60  
Paperback --  
Board book CDN $8.54  
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Book Description

Oct. 1 2000 Olivia
Have fun with Olivia...
  • dressing up
  • singing songs
  • building sand castles
  • napping (maybe)
  • dancing
  • painting on walls
  • and -- whew! --
going to sleep at last.

Frequently Bought Together

Olivia + Olivia Helps with Christmas + Olivia . . . and the Missing Toy
Price For All Three: CDN$ 46.14

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Product Details

Product Description

From Amazon

Olivia would be Eloise, if Eloise were a pig. She is good at singing 40 very loud songs and is very good at wearing people out. And scaring the living daylights out of her little brother, Ian, particularly when he copies her every move. She is also quite skilled at reproducing Jackson Pollock's "Autumn Rhythm #30" on the walls at home. When her mother tucks her in at night and says, "You know, you really wear me out. But I love you anyway," Olivia precociously pronounces, "I love you anyway too."

The New Yorker artist Ian Falconer's endearing charcoal portraits of his porcine heroine are spotted with fire-engine red gouache in all the right places--perhaps a tribute to Hilary Knight's red, pink, white, and black celebrations of Olivia's human counterpart? When she dresses up, the bow on her ears, her red lipstick, and her high-heeled shoes are all red. (The only time her shades-of-gray body is pink is when she is sunburned and the area where her bathing suit was is white!) Falconer does a fine job of letting the spare text set up the jokes for the visual punch lines--a dryly humorous interplay that adults will appreciate as much as children.

Preschoolers (and their parents) will see themselves in Olivia--a typical high-energy, over-the-top kid who likes the beach and Degas paintings, but hates naps. On the other hand, she combs her ears and is unusually gifted at sandcastle building. While we are certainly reminded of Eloise, Falconer's portrait is simpler in scope, less demented, and, as a result, less adult. Bottom line: precocious is fun, and we're tickled pink to have Olivia join the parade of, let's just say, individualistic youngsters. (Ages 4 to 8) --Karin Snelson

From Publishers Weekly

Come one, come all for this extraordinary debut for both Falconer and his unforgettable porcine heroine. The author/artist begins this day-in-the-life tale with a kind of behind-the-scenes peek at Olivia. Articles from her wardrobe are strewn across the endpapers-red tights, red sunglasses, a red T-shirt and red tank top-until the title page reveals her selection: a red sailor dress with black-and-white striped tights. "This is Olivia./ She is good at lots of things," the narrator begins, like an emcee introducing the star of the show. The genius of the volume is its economy: the brief text brilliantly plays off the artwork, rendered only in shades of red and black with an occasional background setting; a deceptively simple design unifies each spread. For one such spread, demonstrating "She is very good at wearing people out," Falconer shows Olivia engaged in a variety of activities in 13 black-and-white vignettes, using red sparingly-for a hammer handle, a yo-yo, a ball, a mixing bowl spatula and a jump rope-as she progresses from energetic to spent. Against a completely white background, these vignettes seem to bob on invisible undulating waves, with the intermittent splashes of red creating a sense of movement and urgency-until Olivia's collapse at the lower right-hand corner of the spread beneath a single line of text ("She even wears herself out"). The few full scenes amplify the deadpan humor: a beach setting allows for the full impact of Olivia's spectacular sandcastle model of the Empire State Building; a full-bleed black-and-white image of a tutu- and tiara-clad Olivia bowing to unseen fans answers the narrator's question "What could she be thinking?" as she stares at her favorite painting, featuring Degas's ballerinas, in a museum. Whether in full scenes or vignettes, Falconer keeps the focus on his inimitable protagonist. He clearly understands his audience: a standout spread shows Olivia getting dressed in her red-only wardrobe ("She has to try on everything") in 17 separate fashion poses. Falconer's choice to suggest Olivia with a minimum of details and a masterful black line allows readers to really identify with her-no doubt, they will. There's a little bit of Olivia in everyone. Ages 3-7. (Oct.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I Had to Buy This--You Don't! Oct. 22 2003
By A Customer
Yes, Ian Falconer is a noted illustrator and the pictures are nice. It's cute---BUT---- there are a thousand other books about cute, naughty little pigs, cows, chickens, etc out there!
This one was lucky enough to be written by someone with enough publishing connections to get hyped to death. All the library and trade journals had HUGE ads touting this book, and as a result, demand is high. I'm going to have to buy every durned Olivia book that comes along the pike for the next few years. But this is not the fabulous, marvelous masterpiece people are making it out to be! The best picture books in general have text and pictures that work together. Take away the illustrations in Olivia, and there'd be nothing there.
As someone else said, borrow it from your library--we could use the circulation and your tax dollars pay for stuff like this.
And while you're at it, take a look at Lillian Hoban's Frances books, Kevin Henkes's books about Lily and all the other really great books that will be around for years to come. I doubt that these will.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The most charming pig since Wilbur himself April 23 2004
Ian Falconer has done many an amusing cover for "The New Yorker" in his day, so it is only fitting that he be responsible for the most New York-inspired children's book since Eloise decided to wreck havoc in the Piazza. For those of you who have never met the charming Olivia, this is probably the best book to begin with. Less pretentious than its sequels, in it you meet Olivia, her family, and her penchant for extravagant imaginings. Drawn in beautifully shaded black and white, this particular tale is dotted with brilliant flashes of Olivia's red belongings. Her adventures are quite tame. Following the day to day adventures of an average child, the viewer views Olivia going to the beach, into her closet, to the museum, and at last to bed.
Reviewer Dwight Garner recently noted in his New York Times Book Review that, " 'Olivia' is one of those kids' books... that hip mommies and daddies like to give to the children of other hip mommies and daddies in order to demonstrate, yet again, what delightfully hip mommies and daddies we all are". There's no denying that this book is decidedly hip. I've yet to see a mom in a children's book look as particularly metropolitan (read: New Yorkish) as Olivia's black clad momma. And when Olivia creates a castle, she doesn't go halfway. She creates a sand-skyscraper. Mr. Garner does bring up an interesting point, though. Is "Olivia" something kids actually love and hold dear to their hearts, or is it something that parents love and hope their kids will get into? Who doesn't want their children to be inspired by a character that reads about Maria Callas before she goes to bed?
I don't know how kids feel about the story. But what I do know is that it's a quality piece of work. The art is beautiful. The story sublime. Plus it's a riot.
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5.0 out of 5 stars When I Need A Quick Laugh I Read Olivia June 20 2002
The cover caught my attention. Olivia was written big and boldly across it. A white piglet wearing a red dress with a black bow tie and zebra stripped stockings. It begged me to read it.
Author and Illustrator Ian Falconer has written a funny book about a little piglet named 'Olivia' who has too much energy. My favorite part of the book are the first four lines: "This is Olivia. She is good at lots of things. She is very good at wearing people out. She even wears herself out." The reader is shown (on two pages) a series of drawings in succession of Olivia jumping, running, standing on her head, yelling, playing ball, etc. and finally (the last drawing) she is flat on her back exhausted.
You can see her driving her mom crazy. She's adorable to read about but if she were my daughter she'd drive me crazy also. In my baby name book 'Olivia' means 'holy'. Not quite Olivia I thought. I got the dictionary and read through all the definitions for 'holy'. There it was at the bottom 'holy terror, a troublesome child'. Bingo! Now that's Olivia but in a funny way.
As I read through the book I could hear myself giggling. Laughter is good for the soul, so go ahead and get a heavy dose of Olivia. I recommend it. It's good for you!
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3.0 out of 5 stars Big deal April 22 2002
By Jay
I don't see what the big deal about this book is. I found it to be a highly contrived story of a little girl who gets into a little bit of mischief. The girl, of course, takes on the appearance of a pig. The drawings are cute, and in my opinion served to show elementary kids that they can draw as well as a professional illustrator.
The story line was lacking and the organization of the text on the page could be confusing at times. Still, I found it to be cute enough that children would enjoy it as a read-aloud, but I still can't understand why it has achieved so much notoriety.
Why 3 stars?:
While it is a cute book, the story isn't very engaging. The illustrations are simple (which I like) and do not distract from the story, though they don't add a great amount either. I haven't found it to be greatly received by schoolchildren when I have read it and seen it used in classrooms. Unless you are a serious children's book collector - I would pass this one up - the hype is bigger than the type.
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5.0 out of 5 stars What a Wonderful Pig Nov. 30 2001
As a twenty year old college student, I enjoyed reading Olivia by Ian Falconer because it brought the little kid out in me. I laughed through the whole story because the story is about an irresistible young pig with boundless energy, with a big attitude. Olivia is good at a lot of things, such as wearing people down and out even including herself. With doing things such as having to try on everything on when getting dressed. The illustrations of her with the seventeen alternatives of what shall she wear. That is something that I can relate to with Olivia in the mornings everyday. She also wears her parents down by having to have read four stories read to her before falling asleep every night. I enjoyed the part where her mother says "you know; you really wear me out. But I love you anyway." Then Olivia says back "I love you anyway too." It was enjoyable seeing OLivia dressing up and standing in front of the mirror wearing red heels, red lipstick, and a red bow tying her ears up. In the background is her brother mocking her with the red lipstick all over him. You get out of this story that her brother is a pest.
Falconer has done a wonderful stylish charcoal sketches strategically accented with red paint gouache in all the right places. The red brightens up the pages and shows the aspirations and the disadvantages of a determined little pig girl. The over size pictures can be seen clearly if you were to read this story for story hour. He also does a good job of letting the spare text set up the jokes for the visual punch line. With dry humor interplay that adults can appreciate as much as their kids. The simple text and illustrations really captures the spirit of a child.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Library must have!
Such a great book
Published 3 months ago by Kaitlin Gutowski
2.0 out of 5 stars Nice pictures.
I don't like the sarcastic tone from the author. The sense we get is the author doesn't particularly like his grand daughter and thinks she's a brat. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Stephen
5.0 out of 5 stars The Basic
The beginner approach to the charming Olivia- pig of great imagination and grace. Great for small hands and laps. Will not bore parents.
Published 17 months ago by madpoet's inc.
5.0 out of 5 stars Great value
I wasn't sure if this was going to be the full Olivia story, just in boardbook form... but it was! Delightful and sturdy, excellent value for your money.
Published on March 12 2010 by Kelly Woodley Jupp
5.0 out of 5 stars great
thanks very much to the company. the book was in excellent condition and came promptly to my door. good work!
Published on Aug. 16 2009 by V. allossery
1.0 out of 5 stars You Must be Kidding, This book is Horrible
I agree with one of the other reviewers who said that it's for the hip mommies and daddies, I don't agree that this book is wonderful however. Read more
Published on May 11 2004
2.0 out of 5 stars I Must Be Missing Something
I don't get it, I've read this book to my son and I think it's boring. Highly overrated.The illustrations are dull and colorless. Read more
Published on April 16 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars SUPERIOR
This is the most fantasically, incredible book. I have bi-polar disorder and the joke ok my house is Olivia is a BP pig! This was so great!!! Read more
Published on Feb. 21 2004 by Suzy
5.0 out of 5 stars Olivia Rocks!
This book rocks! The art was delightful, even the expressions on little Olivia's piggy face. She is an active little "girl" who is into so many different things: from beautiful art... Read more
Published on Feb. 20 2004 by W.M. C.
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent !
I own the Spanish translation of this book. I was amazed how my 3 year old girl identifies with the Olivia character.
Published on Dec 3 2003
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