When your DVR has been taken over by Disney Jr., Nickelodeon and Sprout, and the characters in your nightly reading ritual consists of barnyard animals, yinks and zeeps, it’s refreshing to pick up a children’s book you actually want to read. Enter Olivia the Pig, a posh little piggy who will win your heart as well as your toddler’s. Inspired by the author Ian Falconer’s niece, Olivia the Pig debuted in 2000 and has become a mainstay in children’s literature. So, what is it about Olivia that keeps parents and toddlers oinking for more?
First, the Basic Premise
Olivia lives with her mom, dad and two younger brothers. She finds — or rather, creates — adventures at every turn. She loves fashion, tall tales and mischief.
Olivia … She’s Just Like Us!
And by “us,” we mean our kiddos. Imaginative, surprisingly clever, bold and on occasion, they wear us out. Olivia’s popularity may be due to the fact that our toddlers see themselves in her, and in turn, we see them reflected in her charming actions, whether she’s negotiating during story time, “helping” with the cooking or taunting her little brother.
They’re for Grown-Ups Too
Doesn’t every little girl have a large portrait of Eleanor Roosevelt hanging above their bed? And shouldn’t every children’s book feature the works of Pollock and Degas? Yes. Yes, they should. Being that the author himself was an illustrator for The New Yorker and dozens of other publications, it’s no wonder he’s chosen to insert these well-known artists into his own work. And for parents who are subjected (a.k.a forced by a tiny human) to reading the same book night after night after night, sometimes back-to-back, these grown-up references are a welcome addition.
She’s a Posh little Piggy
My son doesn’t seem to care about this particular aspect, but Olivia is like the Carrie Bradshaw of piggies. She accessorizes nonstop, taking fashion risks and refusing to take her boring old uniform as is, jazzing it up with red bows, socks and other bold accessories. My kind of girl.
As a parent, there are some books I bend over backwards (and by this I mean, “hide” in the trash) to avoid reading. I won’t name any names. But I purposefully leave Olivia in our nighttime reading pile because she’s an upbeat little character that doesn’t annoy me to bits and inspires my little guy to laugh, question and create his own special little world.