The book series, Olivia, by Ian Falconer, is a wonderful tale of an energetic pig named Olivia, and the world that revolves around her. Olivia’s egocentric and imaginative nature is magnetic, and Falconer’s books showcase the joys (and exasperations) of living with a 6 3/4 year old! Nick Jr has placed this adorable pig on the small screen in a new animated series by the same name.
From the opening credits, the television show does a great job of portraying the spirit of the Olivia books. The theme song simply repeats Olivia’s name over and over, which I’m sure delights her thoroughly. The show includes the same set of characters as the books. Olivia’s family unit has a mother, father, and two younger brothers. Just like the books, Ian, Olivia’s four-year-old brother, often participates in her adventures of imagination that take them to far off places. He is not happy when she doesn’t include him. At the beginning of each episode, Baby William gets special treatment as each family member walks into the kitchen and gives him something, not knowing that someone else already has! We immediately relate to Olivia’s busy family.
As the creators have expanded the stories in the books in order to include more episodes, they have remained true to Falconer’s creation. One example comes from Olivia…and the Missing Toy. Before Olivia discovers her toy is missing, she is complaining that she can not possibly wear a green soccer shirt when red is her color. In the TV episode based on this brief conversation, Olivia must deal with the fact that her friend/rival Francine gets to wear the red shirt because she is goalie. Olivia looks directly into the “camera” and says, “Rule of Life #5: Not everyone looks good in red, especially when you’re pink.” We get these words of wisdom periodically from our onscreen Olivia, and they fit with her overconfident personality just perfectly. Once Francine discovers that balls are going to be aimed at her, she decided being goalie isn’t very appealing. Olivia quickly volunteers, for her imagination shows us no role is too small or too large!
The TV show includes one of my favorite parts of the book series–the continual negotiation of how many books will be read at bedtime! Olivia gets her vivid imagination from her love of books. If your child is being exposed to Olivia for the first time through the Nick Jr. series, they will love a trip to the library where they can see Olivia up close and personal.
Several Olivia activities can be found here.
Alicia is a Navy wife and SAHM to Timothy, 5, and Samantha, 3. She blogs about Experiencing Each Moment with two special needs children and any books they will give her a chance to read!