My 4-year-old son is constantly on the move. If he isn’t building Lego masterpieces, he’s designing superhero accessories out of Play-doh or practicing karate kicks in his bedroom. He has more energy and more imagination than I know what to do with sometimes, and that’s why we both get such a kick out of reading Ian Falconer’s book, Olivia.
Olivia is about a bold, imaginative, and endlessly curious little pig who can turn almost any situation into a grand adventure. Nearly two decades after its original release, the book and character continue to be a favorite among an entirely new generation of parents and kids, particularly those who — like my son and me — read the book and can’t help but giggle at how closely it resembles our lives.
What the Book Gets Right
Olivia is a deeply relatable character for my son. By only the second page, the book shows Olivia’s boundless energy as she jumps, twirls, plays ball, yo-yos, and jumps rope. “She is very good at wearing people out,” it says. “She even wears herself out."
Olivia is busy like my son. She takes everything to the extreme. She changes her outfit 50 times before she gets dressed. She hates naps and frolics in her bedroom when she should be sleeping. She’s excited by nearly everything, and her imagination is so big that she just can’t help but want to explore. In the book, her mom teaches her to build sand castles and she imagines she’s building the Empire State Building. Her family goes to the art museum, where she spots a Jackson Pollock and says she could paint something just like it in five minutes. Then, she goes home and paints all over her bedroom wall.