Fans of Ian Falconer’s Olivia books will be quite puzzled by Olivia’s pink outfit on the cover. If that isn’t enough to draw you into the book, then I’m not sure what is.
Not one to follow the crowd, Olivia bemoans the whole “little girls as princesses” frame of thought in this book. I’m not one for the princess thing either, so this book definitely won me over. Olivia points are valid, the illustrations are humorous and lighthearted, even the topic is somewhat serious. Olivia is a girl who knows who she is and what she wants. What she doesn’t want is to follow to crowd, what she does want is to have more options available to her than things that are pink and frilly. Olivia is an exceptional role model for young girls.
There is definitely a bizarre influx of pink for girls and blue for boys in regards to everything the mainstream media can get their hands on. Toys, clothes, even bedding. Young children are given very few choices when it comes to individualizing their identies. Its almost ingrained in their head from birth to differentiate genders just by the colors of their clothing. Its frustrating. I never grew up with pink (and I am thankful for it). My parents never raised me to be their little princess. I grew up as me, with all my faults and exceptional traits. Olivia takes a stand against the pink, against the typecasting, against the bias that girls are dainty and boys aren’t (ie her awesome warthog costume for Halloween). I love the Olivia books, and I admire Ian Falconer for creating a character as unique, charasmatic and bold as Olivia for young girls to emulate.