Written and Illustrated by Ian Falconer


The book "OLIVIA" by Ian falconer is a children's picture book that won the Caldecott book award.The story is the first in its small series about a young pig named Olivia. In this novel, the author gives the readers a small glimpse on the character and who she is. It goes through her daily life. The type of plot demonstrated in this story is a straight line plot because it does not really have anything that leads up to a climax however, it just continues on the same path throughout.The first line in the novel is, "This is Olivia. She is good at lots of things" (pg. 1). Giving a little foreshadowing (155, Lukens) to the reader on what they are going to be reading about.

The literary elements are demonstrated in the illustrations by showing a majority of the story. The characters and setting are illustrated on every page. The theme is also shown by what the character, Olivia is doing. The author chose to do the same color scheme throughout the whole book. Using the colors white, black, grey, and red. The background for every page is white. Everything on the page is black except for the main character's clothing or the object she is using. By doing that the author wanted the reader to focus on the what the text was saying by highlighting it in the images in red. The meaning behind red is power, warmth, anger, energy, and passion (powerpoint). I think the author used that color to represent Olivia for those characteristics to be an example to young children. In two of the pages in the book, the text states, "she even wears herself out" and the illustration for that text is Olivia doing multiple activities. Each different activity she is doing is highlighted red, for example she is jump-roping and the jumpe rope is red.

The book is a fairly large book with the cover standing out using a large font and image of Olivia. The dust jacket had images included on them. You can tell it is a very kid friendly book. The font on the cover page is large however inside the book it is not too big. The text is very short on each page and it moves around to different areas. I think that helps hold the reader's attention and also the author is trying to have the reader focus more on the pictures. The images contribute to the meaning of picturebooks by not only using specific colors, but by changing the position on the images and spreading them out amongst the pages. By changing the layout it helps keep young readers interested and curious for more. By having little text and more images it is clear that the author wanted to make and easy read and have the readers more entertained by the images. The readers are able to think about the images and what is going on instead of just reading it.

The type of illustrations that are used in this book are, animated drawings. They are unrealistic which is also known as surrealism. There is no such thing as a talking pig that does things humans can do. However kids enjoy that and the book is supposed to set an example for kids growing up and doing their own daily chores and activities. Kids find it humorous and easy to relate to which is why a lot of children's book authors use animals to get messages across. The type of artistic media used in this story looked like watercolor and pencil. This contributes to the meaning by the tone and mood of the story. The colors are not bright except for the important parts the author wanted to enhance.


Overall I think this book is a great book for young children. I think that parents can use this book when trying to teach their young son or daughter chores, or any daily activities. Sometimes books can speak to children and show them what to do and what not to do. I also like how this book is part of a series so if the kids enjoy this one they can go see what else Olivia is doing. I think it was very interesting how the author illustrated the book using a certain color scheme and pointing out small things by using red. This book is one that I remember reading as a young kid and I know it will be one that kids now will also enjoy!


  • In-class powerpoints/ notes
  • Falconer, Ian, and Ian Falconer. Olivia. New York: Atheneum, 2000. Print.
  • Lukens, Rebecca J., Jacquelin J. Smith, and Cynthia M. Coffel. A Critical Handbook of Children's Literature. Glenview, IL: Scott, Foresman, 1976. Print.

Hailey England

tuesday/thursday @ 1:30