Am I the only one who jumps for joy when there's a new Olivia book?
The Plot: Olivia wants to form a band. It's Olivia; so she does so in her own unique way.
The Good: I love characters like Olivia and Babymouse, and they remind me of my niece, Queen Lucy. I especially love how they work in a picture format, so we can see the world the way they see it, yet also see the world as others see it.
Olivia, getting dressed:
Olivia couldn't find her other red sock.And of course, the floor is covered with identical looking red socks.
"What's the matter?" asked her mother.
"I can't find my other red sock," said Olivia.
"What are those all over the floor?"
"They don't go with this one."
Olivia's great idea: "I know! We'll start a band!" And the picture shows her family staring at her: the cat and baby try to run away while Mom, Dad and little brother get busy with their own stuff, desperately trying to avoid eye contact. You don't need words to know they're thinking, uh oh...
Poor Mom; and wow to Olivia, with her unmistakable belief in herself. And I love how she throws herself into a goal. And abandons it once she's achieved her goal.
I also like how this is at it's heart a simple story: A family goes to see fireworks, and it's fun because the family is together and it's fun because of Olivia's imagination and belief in herself. This is a girl who not only makes her own fun; she makes her own dreams come true.
Links: Interview with Ian Falconer; All About Olivia from the Connecticut Post; meet the writers at B&N.