Olivia fans rejoice! That endearing, energetic little pig is back in her very own new circus adventure, and she's just as engaging as ever.
Olivia tends to wreak havoc with every move, and as the story starts she's cooking pancakes for her two younger brothers. Leaving pots, pans and batter in her wake, she dresses (this is quite a production, of course) and zips off on her scooter to school, where a rapt audience of her classmates awaits. It's "What did you do on your vacation?" time, so, naturally, Olivia spins a yarn worthy of Barnum ∧ Bailey about how she attended a circus, only to find all the performers absent, home sick with ear infections.
"Luckily," Olivia recounts ever so modestly, "I knew how to do everything." Everything includes riding the elephants, becoming the Tattooed Lady, taming lions, walking the tightrope, being a clown and more. Her show-stopping act is flying through the air as "Olivia, Queen of the Trampoline," in a pullout spread that brings readers center ring. Falconer is one of those rare artists the late H. A. Rey of Curious George fame comes to mind as a comparison who can turn a simple tale into a classic on the sheer force of his characters' facial expressions. Who would think that a crooked-line smile and simple little eyes could emote so much? But they always do if they belong to Olivia.
Falconer's writing is also a fine example of the "less is more" school. Take, for example, this simple exchange between Olivia and her teacher after Olivia finishes her tale of daring circus exploits: "Was that true?" Olivia's teacher asks.
"Pretty true," says Olivia.
"Pretty all true."
Young Olivia has been described as the porcine equivalent to Eloise. In any event, she is beyond fearless funny and unconquerable the sort of childhood pal you'd like to have, although any parent would no doubt quake every time she came near. Let's just hope Miss Olivia keeps on having more wonderful adventures.