Olivia Goes to Venice

Ian Falconer, Author
Ian Falconer, S&S/Atheneum, $17.99 (48p) ISBN 978-1-4169-9674-3
Reviewed on: 08/02/2010
Release date: 09/01/2010
Open Ebook - 48 pages - 978-1-4424-2737-2
Paperback - 41 pages - 978-1-84738-836-0
Ebook - 40 pages - 978-0-85707-349-5
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The irrepressible Olivia is back—this time on a trip to Venice that hits the tourist hotspots and allows Olivia to be her precocious porcine best. The plot is episodic, but Caldecott Honor artist Falconer’s inventive and droll artwork offers exuberance (and gelato) in nearly every scene, and Olivia’s curiosity and strong sense of self remain intact. The contrast between the antic lines of the charcoal and gouache paintings superimposed over gorgeous color photographs provides much hilarity. As Olivia plaintively holds out corn kernels at the Piazza San Marco, a page turn shows her face full of horror as the pigeons descend like Hitchcock’s birds. Falconer’s understated text is both witty and subtle; when the gondola emerges from under the Bridge of Sighs, “Olivia sighed.” And he remains attuned to the way children think; when Olivia is searched at the airport for weapons, “She was very pleased.” The preposterous ending involves Olivia’s finding the perfect souvenir (“one of the actual Stones of Venice”) and the resulting collapse of a bell tower. This comic sequel is as delightful as its predecessors. Ages 3–7. (Sept.)
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