A friend of mine shared an experience with me recently: she went with her toddler to a public library and her son picked this book among many many others. My first thought was “of course.” You see, I haven’t yet met a child to remain indifferent to this book. Maybe that is why Olivia is my safe pick, my go-to-choice, especially when I don’t know a lot about a toddler I meet.
Ian Falconer, the writer and illustrator, did a brilliant, wonderful job here.
This vibrant, welcoming yet provocative contrast of red white and black is always the first thing that strikes a toddler’s imagination. The vibrant, confident, clear and bold dialogue between red and black on a white canvas. And of course, there is a pig! How cool is this?
Now before we dive in, let’s talk about animals and toddlers and animals in toddler books.
Animals are fascinating for children and toddlers: in their journey of discovering the world that surrounds them, toddlers meet animals. These creatures can move, like we do, but they can also fly or crawl. Then they have fur and make bizarre sounds and definitely do not respond to our existence like other humans do.
Animals is a great chapter in a toddler’s life: animals can teach empathy, be a great opportunity for discussions about our world and our environment.
All these, in our nonfiction world.
Now in fiction, animals can talk, fly to the moon and back, cook, bake, create civilizations and marvelous achievements - and at the same time, they are the cutest creatures ever.
And THIS makes fiction stories with animals irresistible. Irresistible yet relatable.
Olivia here is like us, like your toddler. She keeps moving, questioning, playing, visiting museums and drawing, she goes to the beach and builds sand castles, and above all … she wears you out.
The simplicity and realness of this story which describes the life through the eyes of a toddler, combined with this amazing illustration that stays consistent is just pure bliss. You really don’t have to do a lot with this book. I think the only thing you have to do is to just expose your child to the possibility of just being around it. Your toddler will do the rest…
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* link for the author here
** interview here
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