A bit of individuality please!

Olivia and the Fairy Princesses by Ian Falconer

So far, this is my favourite in the Olivia series (see my reviews also of Olivia and Olivia the Spy).

As with the other books in the series, the illustrations are fantastic and little Olivia is full of personality. She is extremely intelligent, confident and inquisitive, a great character for young daughters in particular.

What I love most about this book is the message that it conveys – individuality is important, and that just going along with “normal” is really very boring. This is an important notion for both our sons and daughters.

In this book Olivia is having an “identity crisis” and explores the various options she sees available to her. She questions why other young girls would want to all look the same as princesses with pink ruffly skirts and tiaras, when there are so many other alternatives out there.

As with Falconer’s other Olivia books, Olivia’s grasp of language is better than a lot of adults (I know many adults who wouldn’t be able to use the term ‘corporate malfeasance’ in a sentence). This is how Falconer cleverly caters to the parents who are reading the book. He engages them by creating a level of relatability to their own children. We feel the mother’s exasperation with Olivia’s persistent questioning, we relate to our children coming out with sentences and thinking “where on earth did you hear that!”…I love the opening line “Olivia was feeling depressed” – how many young children truly understand the notion of being depressed? She uses the term in such an exaggerated manner, very reflective of her expressive character.

Another great read by Ian Falconer. A sweet and humourous book which delivers some complex and important discussion points to have with our children around socialization and behaviour.

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