Olivia Goes to Venice

Image of Olivia Goes to Venice
Release Date: 
September 27, 2010
Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Reviewed by: 

The exuberant little Olivia the pig is back, and this time she’s taking it international. When spring vacation arrives, Olivia decides her family needs to spend a few days in Venice, Italy. So, in the way things always seem to work for her, Olivia soon finds herself packing for the trip—though she and her mother cannot agree on whether she really needs her snorkel and flippers and water skis to visit a place that is “often under water,” according to Olivia.

When Olivia is searched for weapons at the airport, she is very pleased. You have never met a pig that loves attention like Olivia, unless you count Wilbur in Charlotte’s Web. And Olivia is even more delighted when she learns that in Italy, “you can get pizza and ice cream everywhere”! Nirvana!

This book has several laugh-out loud parts. The scene in which Olivia decides to feed the pigeons is probably the only one whose resemblance to the film The Birds will have you shaking with mirth. As is true to his signature, Falconer continues to provide enough of these moments to make these books more than bearable for the adults who read them over and over and over. . . .

Packed with detailed photographs juxtaposed with his whimsical drawings, Falconer shines without blinding. The reader learns all about different historical spots in Italy and even gets a primer in the basic Italian a pig might need to survive in that country.

Though there were some moments that made Olivia reminiscent of Fancy Nancy (the heroine of a series of her own), Olivia Goes to Venice provides us with a picture book character who never gets tiresome—no matter how many books in which she stars—and one whom readers will enjoy accompanying on all her diverse adventures for a long time to come.