‘Olivia helps with Christmas‘ by Ian Falconer (published by Simon and Schuster)
Before I get started, I should say that my copy of this book is the paperback version, whereas it would seem that the format that is currently available is a board book. There’s nothing to suggest that either the text or illustrations have been changed in any way, but as I haven’t seen the board book version I thought it might be worth mentioning.
Right, here’s the thing. Olivia ROCKS. I have had a draft post about some of the other Olivia books waiting to be finished for about a year (definitely a resolution for 2014, to actually *publish* more posts rather than just storing them all up) but I find it really hard to know how to do justice to such brilliant books. I’ve given ‘Olivia and the Fairy Princesses’ to countless children for birthday presents as it’s such a great counterbalance to all the pink and sparkly princess stuff that children are exposed to now. All the books, though, are filled with Olivia’s distinctive voice – a little pig who is intelligent, self-assured, funny, and yet empathetic and loving as well, while still experiencing all the highs and lows of being a young child (she is certainly never portrayed as ‘perfect’). In short, she’s a super role model for anyone.
The story is simply about Olivia and her family preparing for Christmas and then sharing the special day together. Ian Falconer’s background in theatre design is evident here in the simple but incredibly effective pictures, which are a mixture of illustration and photographic images, combined perfectly to create Olivia’s world.
I wish I could be more articulate in my praise for this book, but hopefully the fact that I’ve saved it for the Christmas Day post shows just how highly I regard it. If you do nothing else in 2014, please get yourself an ‘Olivia’ book, then my work here will be done.
Merry Christmas everyone 🙂