This book (by Ian Falconer) is hilarious. Olivia is such a precocious little piglet! I actually laughed out loud a couple of times whilst reading this book. Whilst it appeals to the child audience it is most certainly aimed at adults too .I loved it!
And why is Olivia depressed? Well, she is having an identity crisis of all things! She just can not understand why all the other little girls want to be princesses. At Pippa's birthday party everyone was dressed as a fairy princess- even some of the boys! Olivia however 'chose a simple French sailor shirt, matador trousers, black flats, a strand of pearls, sunglasses, a red bag, and her gardening hat.'
What a stylish little pig!
Olivia's style is one of the things I love about the Olivia books. She makes me laugh because she always wears such sophisticated outfits for one so young! She definitely has some airs and graces about her. I especially love her striped towel and turban combo in this picture:
Olivia spends the course of the book wondering why all the others want to be the same and wondering what she should be that is different. Her mother reminds her that it wasn't too long ago that she (Olivia) wanted to be a fairy princess too.
'That was when I was little' replies Olivia. 'I am trying to develop a more stark, modern style.'
This is my favourite page in the whole book! A double page spread (I have scanned only a section of it here) of Olivia posing about in a black sheet like thing.
Anyway, Olivia does eventually decide what she wants to become at the end of the book after going through a number of different career choices: a nurse, an adopter of orphans, a reporter... I won't spoil the surprise for you but I will say that what she decides to become is very Olivia.
Also I should probably say something about the illustrations too. I love the way Ian Falconer uses a limited palette in the Olivia books. It enables the reader to really focus on the central character (which is what I am sure Olivia would want!) so she becomes very much centre stage. It fits perfectly with her personality. I also really like the way that there is the occasional black and white photo incorporated into the pictures. It gives them a bit more of an interesting and dare I say 'arty' feel which I think Olivia would approve of, being a very cultured pig and all.
Have you read any of the Olivia books? Which is your favourite one?