by Ian Falconer
The Olivia books have quickly become such classics that they hardly need reviewing on this site, but since they are currently among our favorite books, I had to talk about them. Firmly in the Eloise tradition of miniature heroines, Olivia is a confident, imaginative, strong-minded little piglet, who reluctantly puts up with her younger siblings (most of the time) and keeps her parents on their toes with her antics. In the first book, we follow Olivia to the fine art museum and witness her love of Degas and her disdain for Pollock (she does a quite credible pollock-esque mural on the wall when she gets home, just to show that she can. A time-out understandably ensues). We enjoy her wardrobe variations; her love of playing dress-up, her amazing skills at sand-castle building, and the way she turns a lovely pinky color after a day at the beach. This is one of those delightful picture books where the text and the illustrations are equally well crafted, and work in tandem to create Olivia's vivid worlds. Kids will see Olivia as a kindred spirit, and parents will instantly recognize the tired-but-affectionate look on Olivia's mother's face as she tucks her exhausting daughter into bed. "You wear me out, but I love you anyway," she tells Olivia. "I love you anyway, too," Olivia responds. Truer words were never spoke.