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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
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...
Published on April 23 2004 by E. R. Bird

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I Had to Buy This--You Don't!
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...
Published on Oct. 22 2003


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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
This review is from: Olivia (Hardcover)
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
By 
E. R. Bird "Ramseelbird" (Manhattan, NY) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Olivia (Hardcover)
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. Olivia stuffed into one of the legs of her mother's pantyhose is a black and white joke hidden in the corner of a colorful montage of Olivia wearing her full wardrobe (love the ballgown).
"Olivia" is not going to change the world of children's book publishing. And perhaps it's only ever going to be fully appreciated by people over the age of 18. But with all the crummy two-bit picture books out there ("Love You Forever" anyone?) sometimes it's just a small slice of heaven to read something to your child that's enjoyable to them and fun for you as well.
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5.0 out of 5 stars When I Need A Quick Laugh I Read Olivia, June 20 2002
By 
Chris Valentine (Los Angeles, CA USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Olivia (Hardcover)
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
This review is from: Olivia (Hardcover)
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
By 
"ksubabe007" (Massillon, Ohio) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Olivia (Hardcover)
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. Olivia fits into the category of the best books for children are these that are not looking down on them, where the humor is grown up and where the author is not afraid to talk to a child as an equal. This is a rare book that bridges the kids and parents together by the taste gap that is so elegantly and effortlessly. Kids can see themselves in Olivia and want to read the story over and over again. This is definitely a book you need to have in your home library.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Wonderful World with Olivia, Nov. 16 2001
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This review is from: Olivia (Hardcover)
Olivia is a young, energetic pig who "is good at lots of things." She likes to run, play dress-up, build sand castles, and scare her little brother away. In fact, Olivia has so much energy, that her mother finds it hard to get her take a nap during the day. Like most children, Olivia has bigger and better things to do than worry about a little sleep, especially when she could be at a museum looking at her favorite picture. Also like other children, Olivia gets inspired and decides to paint a picture on her own bedroom wall. All her adventures during the day make Olivia a typical child. Before the end of the day, Olivia really wears out her poor parents. As a tradition in many families, Olivia's mother still finds the strength to read her a few books before bedtime. And when all is said and done, her mother still loves her anyways.
Like many children, Olivia is into many activities and uses her energy to the full extent. This book allows children to feel comfortable and secure in knowing that they can play all day, make mistakes, and wear their parents out without losing their love. It provokes children to be energetic and creative while enjoying the tales of lovable pig who inspires them to play and create.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Olivia reviews "Olivia", Oct. 26 2001
By 
Mrs. Olivia (Upper Marlboro, MD United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Olivia (Hardcover)
This book gets a 10+ rating from Olivia, the high school educator. I am drawn to books that are entitled, "Olivia" and/or written by authors named Olivia. So, I was definitely drawn to purchase "Olivia" by Ian Falconer. After reading the book, I told my family and friends about it because "Olivia" is so descriptive of ME!
I took "Olivia" to school and read it to my 9th grade high school students. My students were ecstatic and are in agreement with the characteristics of "Olivia." The majority of my students agree with the author when he stated, "She is very good at wearing people out. She even wears herself out." My students agree because they often say, "You wear us out because you give us so much work. You challenge us to strive for excellence."
I keep the book on display in my classroom. Since my first copy of the book was starting to look "used," I purchased a second copy of the book and display it in our living room. I am the only one who can touch this copy!
"Olivia" is phenomenal! It is a book that should be read by children and adults, also. Thank you Ian Falconer for making me laugh at "myself." I welcome future books about "Olivia" for years to come!
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5.0 out of 5 stars An Energetic, Artistic Miss Piggy En Famille, Dec 26 2000
By 
Donald Mitchell "Jesus Loves You!" (Thanks for Providing My Reviews over 124,000 Helpful Votes Globally) - See all my reviews
(#1 HALL OF FAME)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Olivia (Hardcover)
Many people compare Olivia to Eloise. While that's certainly a possible model, the more obvious one to me is of Miss Piggy transformed into the setting of her family, rather than being with the Muppets. Olivia's all energy, all female, always dreaming of starring in the arts, and all ready for action. As such, she's a female role model of an upscale Dennis the Menace for the new Millennium.
The story takes you through Olivia's favorite activities. She loves to try on and change clothes, put on make-up, be active with her family and pets, and learn about the arts. Olivia clearly benefits from Ian Falconer's background as someone who paints, illustrates, and has done costume and set design for operas and ballet.
Olivia has four primary appeals for me. First, she is hilariously drawn . . . all head and ears with her snout sticking up in the air atop tiny legs and even smaller hind feet with her horizontally striped tights showing. Second, she is a whirling dervish with wonderful drawn sequences of many different illustrations on two page spreads that capture incredible energy and variation. Third, she is absolutely irrepressible . . . the kind of dauntless child that most parents would like to have. Stimulation . . . not a nap . . . is her need. You can imagine her running for president of the United States in a few years on the Fine Arts ticket. Fourth, there is a wonderful connection to fine art here that you can use to interest your child. The book includes reproductions of two paintings (one of dancers by Degas and a "drip" one by Jackson Pollock}, a book about Maria Callas, and references to Olivia painting, dancing, and singing an aria.
If Eloise is the original material girl with confidence, then Olivia is the modern version of the Alcott sisters getting ready to perform on the big stage of life.
Parents will appreciate that this story develops the theme also of how exhausting it can be to be always engaging with your child. This kind of story makes it possible to establish limits based on mutual love and respect, rather than discipline by habit.
After you have finished enjoying the story, I suggest that you ask your child what she or he dreams about. Then find books, paintings, videos, and other reference materials that can stimulate his or her imagination about those subjects of interest. Children, like adults, learn best when focused on something they already like.
Go whole hog with Olivia and have a ball!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Love at First Sight, Dec 9 2000
By 
Edward Aycock (New York, NY United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Olivia (Hardcover)
I love Ian Falconer's New Yorker covers, and now I love Olivia too. I only discovered Olivia just this afternoon while I was browsing at the local bookstore. Olivia reminds one of Elopise, but at the same time, it's nice to see her with parents and siblings. I was enchanted by this book, I laughed out loud, and darn it all... if I had only had a few bucks more, I would have bought it. The prose is simple, but sharp and direct, and the artwork is hysterical (especially when Olivia's brother is shown copying everything she does.)
Even more fun is Olivia's appreciation for art and the like. Imagine a little kid wanting a Callas picture book read to them. It's touches like this that make Olivia the clear winner as one of the best picture books to emerge this past year. I am hoping Falconer will write a few more books about this precious piglet. In the meantime, be proud to buy a copy of this book for yourself, even if you don't have any kids. It will definitely be the literary high point of your week.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The best children's picture book of the year!, Nov. 19 2000
By 
John DiBello (Brooklyn, NY) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Olivia (Hardcover)
"This is Olivia," begins Ian Falconer's delightful picture book about a precocious piglet. "She is good at lots of things." In charming and hilarious illustrations, Olivia's busy adventures take her through dress-up, playing with her cat, going to the beach and museum, (reluctantly) taking a nap, and going to bed after just one story...no, three stories.
This simply is one of the finest children's picture books of the year, and sure to be named on everyone's Top of 2000 list. Quietly humorous and tongue-in-cheek narration, fluid and expressive black-and-white-and-red artwork, and the charming portrayal of the busy and mischievous Olivia make this an instant classic. Sight gags abound (Olivia's ambitious sandcastle, her pink-pink sunburn, her dreams of being a ballerina, and her songbook "40 Very Loud Songs") and Falconer, a New Yorker cover artist and theatre designer, portrays the never-ending energy of a tiny pig, er, girl, with wit and charm.
Don't miss this one: suitable for all ages from the very young to the very old, "Olivia" is the prize of the season. It's the kind of book kids will be begging to have read to them before bed: bargaining for not once, not twice, but three times.
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Olivia
Olivia by Ian Falconer (Board book - Oct. 1 2004)
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