Title: Olivia

Author: Ian Falconer

Publication Date: 2000

Publisher: Antheneum Books for Young Readers

Price: $16.95

Number of Pages: 40 pages

Awards: Caldecott Honor Book

Genre/Subgenre: Animal/Humor/Family

Popularity: 5
Quality: 5

Reader’s Annotation:

A creative, spirited little pig named Olivia dreams of artistic success.


Olivia is the story of a lively little pig and her dreams of being a star – whether it’s as a ballerina, an artist, an opera singer, or something else entirely. Even though Olivia is still an ordinary little piglet, she shows early signs of stardom – she is energetic, a bit difficult, creative, and has a very unique sense of style. Olivia takes us through her day to day life as she gains inspiration from the world around her and experiments with her art – all while wearing her parents out!


I love Olivia, and I think it will be appealing to young readers for generations to come. Olivia is a perfect heroine – she’s got a big personality, she’s creative, she’s a bit of a diva. The illustrations jump off the page, perfectly capturing Olivia’s energy and passion for creativity. Although this book is technically about a pig, it’s really about a child trying to make a name for herself and make her creative mark. I think readers will relate to and love Olivia.

Why I Chose the Book:

I thought Olivia was absolutely adorable. A little piglet who does ballet, loves art, and has big dreams? I was hooked! I also thought it was interesting that Ian Falconer stated in the introduction that he based Olivia and her little brother after his own children – very cool!


Olivia Saves the Circus by Ian Falconer

Olivia and the Fairy Princess by Ian Falconer

Olivia’s Opposites by Ian Falconer

Book Talk Ideas

Olivia loves ballet, art, and opera. Pair a reading of Olivia with a lesson on one of these subjects – play some opera for the class or library, for example!

Discussion Questions

1. Olivia is drawn to the creative world – art, ballet, and opera. What about her personality makes these activities appealing to her?

2. How does the use of color and illustration in Olivia contribute to the story? What do we learn about Olivia from Ian Falconer’s illustrative choices?


Falconer, I. (200). Olivia. New York: Antheneum Books for Young Readers.

Goodreads (2014). Olivia by Ian Falconer.

Retrieved from https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/770051.Olivia