Olivia Helps With Christmas (Ian Falconer)

Hello, friends! We’re continuing our weeklong Holiday Countdown tonight with Olivia Helps With Christmas by Ian Falconer, a very merry Christmas story starring that precocious little pig, Olivia.

It’s Christmas Eve, and though Santa’s visit is hours away, there is still lots and lots to do. Olivia’s family must trim their tree, set the table, feed baby William, sing carols, and keep a sharp watch out for Santa, of course. Olivia does her best to help – in her own uniquely “Olivia” ways – with mixed results. No matter: when Christmas morning comes, there are presents to unwrap, snow to play in, and food to e- oh, wait, nevermind. Olivia and her brothers have already torn through their presents first. After a Christmas Day of play and festivities, Olivia settles in for a well-earned winter’s night, filled with dreams of dancing the Nutcracker Suite.

I’m kind of torn on this one. To be honest, I feel like we’ve grown a bit spoiled on how hilariously fun the Olivia books are, because while this one had some wonderfully whimsical moments, many of the jokes fell a bit flat. The illustrations were not my favorites of the Olivia series either – many of them are very dark, and it was difficult to tell Olivia and her brother apart from each other at times. Olivia and her fanciful nature are always delightful, and still one of the most accurate representations of how little ones move, talk and think in kidlit, but even her charming silliness couldn’t save this one from its duller aspects. The length was okay, but JJ seemed less than interested – very unusual for her with an Olivia book. As much as we love the clever little piglet, we weren’t wild about this one, but maybe your bookworm will feel different.


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