Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Olivia Saves the Circus

Olivia Saves the Circus

Ian Falconer
Picture Book  Series
For ages 3 to 7
Simon and Schuster (USA), 2001   ISBN: 978-0689829543

Today Olivia has to tell her class all about what she did during her vacation. One of the things she did was to go to the circus. Unfortunately “all the circus people were out sick with ear infections” but Olivia, being a very versatile young pig, knows just what to do. In no time at all she is riding the elephants, taming the lions, walking the tightrope, walking on stilts and so much more. Indeed she is the star of the show and saves the day.

Not too surprisingly Olivia’s teacher asks the little girl pig if her account is true, to which Olivia answers “pretty all true.”

Once again Olivia’s delightful character practically leaps off the pages. She thinks and speaks just like a little child, and she sees the world just as a child would. Young readers will understand her perfectly and older ones will enjoy seeing the world from her point of view, complete with her extraordinary imagination and her ebullient self confidence. Full of surprises, funny, and never dull, Olivia is like a breath of fresh air.

The artwork in this story is just as striking as the pictures created for the first Olivia title. This time the pictures are rendered in black, shades of grey and red. In the circus scenes Olivia is touched with dashes, dots, dabs, and stripes of pink instead of red. The author thus gives this part of the story a separate feel and look. There are no rules in how the artwork is laid out so the reader is constantly surprised by what turns up on the next page. Single, double and fold out spreads and a variety of formats give the whole book a wonderfully unique Olivia-ish feel.