Finally recovered from the holidays (except for those pesky top-of-the-cupboard decorations), I’m getting back on track with my children’s book features. I’m also catching up on a little reading, including an entire month’s worth of the Sunday New York Times. I was surprised to discover this review of “Olivia Goes to Venice” in the January 16 edition of the New York Times Book Review.
I have to admit, I had been feeling a tad guilty about my criticisms of Ian Falconer’s most recent title. Especially considering that everything else that had been written about the book after its publication was immediate and unquestioning praise. So, who was I to knock Falconer’s exuberant use of color and photography?
Well, I’ve finally found someone who agrees with me. Journalism Jessica Bruder writes:
“Olivia’s new worldliness, however, comes at a price. The old Olivia was a D.I.Y. darling. She relied on creativity and pluck to create the fabulous scenes of her dreams. She tamed lions in ‘Olivia Saves the Circus’ and pulled together a cacophonous, one-pig orchestra in ‘Olivia Forms a Band.’ But in ‘Olivia Goes to Venice,’ she consumes, rather than creates, the world around her. So it’s hard to hear her growing litany of demands, as well as the ‘edge of hysteria in her voice’ when she begs, ‘Oh, please — Oh, Please, Mother — can’t we live in a palazzo on the Grand Canal?'”