Olivia, a Caldecott Honor Book, by Ian Falconer is a children’s picture book that captures the heart of a confident, strong-minded child. This is the first in a series of Olivia books by Falconer that incorporates the supposed personalities of his own children. Olivia has a wide range of interests from soccer to drama but puts her own flair on them all. This book goes through snippets of Olivia’s days. Some say it it disjointed, but the movement from activity to activity speaks well to a young child’s short attention span.
The short sentences and simple format of the black, white and red pictures and words make this a visually interesting book as well. The pages of words are not overwhelming for a young reader/listener. There is also criticism of Olivia’s attitude. I think a parent of a strong-willed child might recognize this as real life handled with humor. Falconer introduces young readers to artists when Olivia visits an art museum. She is disciplined with a “time out” for her Jackson Pollock “reproduction” on the wall at home showing that she does not go unpunished. The book is also honest about Olivia’s tenacity, “She is very good at wearing people out. She even wears herself out.” This look at a girl who feels her potential is unlimited is a timely, funny read for both children and adults.
Corky Carlson (Amazon Reviews)