Olivia and the Fairy Princesses

Olivia, the complex young pig we’ve loved since her debut in 2000, is out with her seventh full-fledged book, Olivia and the Fairy Princesses, by Ian Falconer.  Princesses might sound like a girly theme, but not in the hands of her creator, Ian Falconer.  In fact, my almost-seven-year-old boy loves this one

        Flat on her back on the first page, Olivia is depressed.  Even her dog and cat look concerned.  She’s thinking long and hard about fairy princesses.  Later her mother lathers her hair as she takes a bath and Olivia pronounces, “If everyone’s a princess, then princesses aren’t special anymore!”  She also notices they tend to be generic Disney princesses.  “Why is it always a pink princess?  Why not an Indian princess or a princess from Thailand or an African princess or a princess from China.  There are alternatives.”  (And we see Olivia dressed up as each kind of princess.)

She toys with what she can be when she grows up, considering nursing the sick and elderly or being a reporter and exposing corporate malfeasance.  Finally she decides just the thing for her on the very last page.  (Can’t tell!)

           Olivia books hold up well to many readings.  The humor has a dry side for adults and a wacky side for kids.  Falconer usually has fun super-imposing the characters on a black and white photo or two.  His style is familiar as well from his New Yorker covers.

Lately, we’ve also been enjoying Olivia Goes to Venice.  My daughter says her favorite is still Olivia…and the Missing Toy.  Me too!  But Fairy Princesses is right up there.



Filed under Age: Early Elementary, Age: Preschool

4 responses to “Olivia and the Fairy Princesses

  1. I haven’t seen this one yet. Oh boy, I can’t wait!

  2. Sounds very cute, and LOL on the drawings–adorable! Love the one on the right that’s leaping…cute li’l legs. (One thing though is that Disney princesses ARE fairly multicultural!)

  3. The Disney Princesses are indeed a multicultural lot , but not multi-special, as in, representing a variety of animal species (I love using the word ‘special’ as the adjectival form of ‘specie.’ I also love using ‘adjectival.’ I also love ‘also,’ but not quite as much as ‘more’, but more than ‘much.’ But I’m getting off-track with all the lingual jibber-jabber–oops, did I hear the word ‘lingual!?).
    But this is where Olivia shines. She is a pig a n d a princess. We all need such role models, especially young pigs just starting out in the world. What hope have they, generally speaking? Piglets are cute, but bacon is a social juggernaut and can’t be denied. So good job, Olivia, for dreaming the dream and shooting for the stars!

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