Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Olivia Goes to Venice by Ian Falconer

I first discovered Ian Falconer’s Olivia when I was covering for the librarian at my first school and was faced with entertaining a large group of Kindergarten students.  We had already finished the lesson the librarian had left and there was still what seemed to me at the time a massive amount of time remaining before the teacher was scheduled to pick up the class.  (It was probably only five minutes or so.) So I grabbed a book off the table. It was the original Olivia and I’ve been in love with this little pig ever since. 

In this latest adventure, Olivia and her family spend their vacation in Venice. They tour the city, crossing the canals, feeding the pigeons, taking gondola rides, and eating numerous gelatos – so many gelatos they almost sink the gondola.  As the time for returning home nears, Olivia wants to find just the perfect souvenir from the trip. Her choice is pure Olivia and one that will not surprise her fans.  As always Falconer’s mixture of charcoal and gouache illustrations are a delightful background for the story.  This is the original Olivia, not the Saturday morning cartoon spinoff. I love Falconer’s stories and illustrations. I am quite disappointed to discover a number of Olivia books being released that are based on the TV series. The illustrations in those books are not Falconer’s, but unfortunately a cheap imitation.  Olivia Goes to Venice, however, is pure Falconer and a must have for true Olivia fans.

Recommended for ages Preschool – 3rd Grade.

Mrs. Archer’s rating: 5 of 5


  1. I'm disappointed about the spinoffs of Sat. morning cartoons. If kids don't have some knowledgeable adults around, they won't notice the difference, or ever learn to distinguish between really good and so-so. Thanks for sharing this one!!

  2. I've avoided the TV show. I was excited when I saw that Amazon had some I Can Read books about Oliva. Then I looked closer and realized they were from the TV show. Max & Ruby by Rosemary Wells was also turned into a TV show, but from what little I saw of it, the illustrations were the same. I don't know about the stories because I only glanced at it a time or two. There's a Judy Moody movie coming out during the summer of 2011. I know I'll regret it, but I'll probably go see it.

    Mrs. Archer