Reviews provided by Syndetics
Publishers Weekly Review
Equal parts endearing and impetuous, Ian Falconer's acclaimed star, Olivia, appears in an unabridged board book version of the Caldecott Honor title. In our Best Books citation, PW wrote, "With a masterful use of black line, a minimum of details, a judicious use of the color red and a few choice words, Falconer invents an unforgettable porcine heroine." (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
School Library Journal Review
PreS-Gr 3-From the articles of clothing strewn across the front endpapers of this droll account of Olivia's escapades, readers may surmise that this porcine heroine is no ordinary youngster. Olivia is constantly on the move, dreaming big dreams and meeting every challenge head-on. She doesn't just get dressed, she tries on every outfit in the closet. She doesn't just dance, she envisions herself as a prima ballerina bowing before an adoring audience. When her mother teaches her to build sand castles, Olivia creates a towering structure that closely resembles the Chrysler Building in New York City. When she views a Jackson Pollack painting in the museum, she immediately concludes that she can do better and proceeds to try her hand at painting a wall at home. Her efforts earn her time out and a bath. The text is brief, funny, and sometimes ironic in relation to the highly amusing illustrations. The only touches of color in the pictures, executed in charcoal and gouache, are the bright reds of the clothing or objects used by Olivia. There are often many renderings of the young pig on each large white background, effectively demonstrating her boundless energy. Even at day's end, she is still going strong, negotiating the number of books to be read at bedtime. For a lively storyhour featuring feisty females, pair this with Kevin Henkes's stories about Lilly.-Marianne Saccardi, Norwalk Community College, CT (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Ages 3^-5. Olivia, a delightful little pig, is Everychild. She's good at lots of things, especially wearing people out--including herself. When she gets dressed, she tries on everything; at night she's ready to go to sleep, but only after four stories. She's a kissing cousin to Kevin Henkes' Lilly. Unlike the Lilly books, there's no real plot here, and that's too bad. But the spacious design of the book; the appeal of the strong, clever art; and the humor that permeates every page make this a standout anyway. Falconer, a painter and New Yorker cover artist, renders Olivia's world in charcoal with dollops of red brightening the pages. Playing dress-up, Olivia stands in front of a mirror wearing red heels, red lipstick, and a red bow tying up her ears. (Little brother, Ian, the copycat, stands behind her, lipstick smearing his mouth and shirt.) When Olivia gets dressed, it's a two-page spread of her in a red ballerina dress, a red bikini, red earmuffs and mittens, a red ball gown--17 outfits in all. The oversize pictures can be seen clearly in story hours, but pouring over them more than once may be the most fun of all: kids will see themselves in Olivia. --Ilene Cooper
Horn Book Review
Stylish charcoal sketches strategically accented with red paint show the aspirations and misadventures of a determined little pig-girl. Although the story (more of a catalog, really) often seems to be winking at parents over their little ones' heads, the interplay of deadpan text (Olivia gets dressed. She has to try on everything) and droll illustration (seventeen alternatives of what-shall-I-wear?) is pretty funny. From HORN BOOK Spring 2001, (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Kirkus Book 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 Olivias 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 books distinction. Although the most visual weight is given to Olivia, just waiting on the sidelines is Olivias little brother Ian. New fans of Falconer can only hope Ian will soon star in his own book. (Picture book. 4-7)