While it's always difficult to resist that perky little porker, Olivia, it's impossible now that she's visiting one of the most beautiful cities in the world - Venice. Yes, sporting a gondolier's hat with its ribbons flying she's about to take that storied spot by storm. (almost literally).
As most know by now Ian Falconer has created one of the most appealing children's book characters to be found. Olivia,along with her brother, Ian, and their mother and father have shared many adventures - from forming a band to visiting a circus to preparing for Christmas. Now, they're off to Italy.
It's spring vacation and Olivia wants to take along her snorkel, flippers and water skis lest the city is under water - mother prevails. Happy to hear that she'll find pizza and ice cream everywhere Olivia enjoys their overseas flight.
Upon seeing the beautiful Grand Canal lined with incredible palazzos Olivia begs to live in one of the palazzos. Of course, she was disappointed when this couldn't happen but a gelato or three cheered her. They're all overwhelmed by how much there is to see - Piazza San Marco, the bevy of pigeons, the gondolas, the Rialto Bridge, the Bridge of Sighs.
Everything about Venice is grandly overwhelming to Olivia and she decides she must find the perfect souvenir of their trip. Young readers will laugh and be surprised at exactly what that is.......as well as its effects upon the city.
The Olivia stores simply become more delightful with each telling.
- Gail Cooke