My now 2 year old daughter has been obsessed with Olivia for about six months now. We've read all of the books dozens of times so when Olivia Forms a Band was released, we made a special trip to the bookstore just to get this book -- and it was worth it. She is even reading Olivia's and Ian's names and a few other short words in the stories now. In this book, she is particularly fond of the pages when Olivia is making all that noise with her band.
Ian Falconer's little piglet never fails to present loads of teaching opportunities for toddlers (when we were reading the first Olivia ad nauseum we had a lot of discussions about what happens when little girls paint on the wall -- "trouble" -- what happens when little girls get in trouble -- "time out," that mama still loves the little girl even if she gets in trouble, where little girls are supposed to paint -- "paper," etc.; similarly my daughter has learned forgiveness, that doggies don't always understand the rules, etc., from Missing Toy, and that there are times for make believe and times when we have to tell the truth from Olivia Saves the Circus. She also has developed an interest in playing the piano because Olivia plays the piano). This book carries on that grand tradition. Olivia wants her family to be in a band with her for the fireworks, but no one wants to join her. She does not let that deter her, but decides to make her own one-pig band. She borrows and collects all sorts of noise makers and is very creative in choosing her instruments and putting the band together by herself. She also is clever in how she collects the instruments she needs. Instead of just grabbing the toys from her brothers, she trades them other things they want and remembers to say, "thank you." We have had a lot of talks about sharing, trading and "please" and "thank you" that this book helps to reinforce.
Since I have to read these books every night (sometimes we read ALL of them every night for a week or so), I appreciate the humor that is aimed at adults, and this book is no exception to Mr. Falconer's wry humor. I particularly enjoy Olivia's search for a matching red sock among the sea of red socks already on her bedroom floor. I also love Mr. Falconer's ability to understand and portray the mind of a small child. For example, Olivia, having made her band and played with it for a bit, is completely done with the band (except putting it away, that is) by the time the family is leaving for the fireworks -- even though that was the reason she wanted the band in the first place.
The pictures are spectacular, particularly the sunset at the beach and the fireworks, and my daughter and I both can enjoy these stories. This new Olivia story does not disappoint in the least and is a pure blessing for a mom that has been reading about Olivia every night for months on end.