Book Reviews

Children’s Book Review-Olivia goes to Venice

Olivia goes to Venice
written and illustrated by Ian Falconer

I first became acquainted with “Olivia” while I was in graduate school, specifically in a class on children’s resources. In case you don’t have a six year old at home, Olivia is a picture book’s name and character created by Ian Falconer (Olivia herself is a darling pig.)  Although I normally don’t review children’s books, I thought I would make an exception here since Olivia happens to take a trip to Venice, Italy with her family.

Olivia is the typical (pig) kid. When she starts her packing, her mom of course helps her straight on what would and would not be needed.

“Olivia, you won’t be needing your snorkel,” said her mother, “or your flippers.”
“Mother, apparently the city is underwater and-“
“Or your water skis.”


When Olivia asks her mother about food in Venice, she’s relieved when her mother tells her that pizza and ice cream can be found everywhere there.

Once in Venice, Olivia and her family take in the sights.

They crossed a pretty little bridge…And then another…And then another…


Olivia even whines to her mother about wanting to move to Venice so that they can live in a palazzo on the Grand Canal.

The experience of seeing the Grand Canal for the first time causes Olivia to desire another gelato (or two or three).

She feeds the pigeons at St. Mark’s Square, an experience most tourists would probably want to skip…

And negotiates the price for a gondola ride with her family along the canals.

Although the book gets a bit silly at the end with Olivia taking one of the Stones of Venice from the bell tower in St. Mark’s Square, resulting in its collapsing into a pile of rubble, it still is a great children’s book with terrific illustrations. For any parents wanting to get their child excited about an upcoming trip to Venice or simply wanting them to become more worldly through books, Olivia goes to Venice is it.

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