“Olivia”

When my brothers and I were young, my mom would read a book to us every night at bedtime. While we had a whole library of children’s books, and each of us had our favorites, “Olivia” was undoubtedly one of the most memorable for me. A Caldecott Honor Book, written and illustrated by Ian Falconer, I enjoyed this book for many reasons, including its simple yet humorous pictures and descriptions. The pictures are all black and white with red accents for Olivia’s clothes, making her stand out and seem even more important. Even though the book has few words, no story line, and not much of a moral lesson, it never ceased to amuse me.
It follows the life of Olivia, a young piglet full of life and energy. She is good at and enjoys doing many things, including playing dress up, scaring her brother, building sand castles at the beach, going to art museums, and trying to create her own art at home. The book also illustrates many everyday occurrences of all young kids, such as brushing her teeth, never being sleepy at nap time, being sent to time out, bathtime, and storytime before bed. From all these activities, Olivia tires her mom out, but despite this, the book closes with her mom saying “You know, you really wear me out. But I love you anyway,” and Olivia replying “I love you anyway too.”
I especially loved this book because it was so easily relatable as a young kid full of life and always wanting to try new things and be constantly amused. Another aspect I enjoyed about the book is that after Olivia’s day of strenuous activities and exhausting her mom, it ends with her mom telling her she loves her; I liked how the book closed with a message about a mother’s unconditional love. While the book itself is a major part of my affection for it, the happy memories of bedtime story time with my mom and two brothers add to its sentimental value. The three of us crowding around my mom, admiring and giggling at the pictures from the book and listening to my mom’s voice was truly what made it so memorable.

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