“I doubt that the imagination can be suppressed.
If you truly eradicated it in a child, he would grow up to be an eggplant.”
– Ursula K. LeGuin, The Language of the Night
Last week in Quill Junior we shared a video review of Olivia Forms a Band by four-year-old Rio Aguirre. Today I’m delighted to feature another Olivia book by Ian Falconer: Olivia Saves the Circus, winner of the 2002 Book Sense Children’s Illustrated Book of the Year.
Of the Olivia books that have been published, I’ve only read the first one – Olivia. Unless I go to the bookstore and actively look for it, I probably wouldn’t have known about Olivia Saves the Circus had it not been for our bimonthly theme. Glad to have discovered it. I love Olivia. She is to me the Stargirl of picture books.
Simple Art and Storytelling. Olivia Saves the Circus follows a short and simple storyline, which makes it a good book to share with preschoolers. The title speaks for itself. When it is Olivia’s turn to share what she did on her vacation, she narrates how she saved the circus.
“One day my mother took Ian and me to the circus,” she begins.
“But when we got there, all the circus people were out sick with ear infections.
“Luckily I knew how to do everything.”
Armed with the magic of storytelling, Olivia tells the class how she became Olivia the Tattooed Lady, the Lion Tamer, the Tight-Rope Walker, and the Clown among others. Then the class ends and Olivia goes home. Another day, another adventure for the lovable pig.
Olivia Saves the Circus is one of those picture books that I consider ‘minimalist’ in nature. The text, the images, and the colors used. I like how the book is boiled down to the basics, just enough details for the younger children to absorb. Ian Falconer further explains this point in a short but beautiful interview by Barnes & Noble. You may also visit Olivia’s website for more details.
Related Articles, Activities and Lesson Plans.
Circus Worksheets by ABCTeach includes a printable worksheet for Olivia Saves the Circus that enhances comprehension and vocabulary skills of children.
2003 Interview with Ian Falconer by Kidsreads.com.
2006 Interview with Ian Falconer by Children’s Bookshelf (Publishers Weekly).
If you simply can’t get enough of this adorable pig, you may also visit Nick Jr. for more Olivia games, videos, crafts, and recipes (!) among others.
Here is a cute video featuring Olivia:
Olivia Saves the Circus
Written and illustrated by Ian Falconer
Hardcover: 44 pages
Reading Level: Ages 3 and up
Book borrowed from the Chula Vista Public Library.
Book photos taken by me.