Monday, October 29, 2007

Ian Falconer's Olivia

The most popular pig in children's literature in this decade has to be Olivia, Ian Falconer's strong-willed heroine of eight books. My two favorites are Olivia Saves the Circus (2001) and Olivia Starts a Band (2006). According to a 2003 article by Bob Minzesheimer in USA Today, Falconer has no good answer for why he chose a pig: "I have no idea. There seems to be a lot of pigs and ducks in kids' books. Pigs are shaped like little kids. Their bodies are smaller than their heads. Pigs are supposed to be intelligent, smarter than dogs, but they're a bit awkward. Their trotters are like little kids' arms that don't work very well yet."

The U.S. Postal Service included Olivia in a 2006 stamp series of Favorite Children's Book Animals (above). Note that two pigs made the cut, Olivia, and Wilbur from E.B. White's Charlotte's Web.

You can find a conversation with Falconer about his creation here on the Simon & Schuster site.

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