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Publishers Weekly Review
Olivia is back after a five-year absence, and at first glance she seems as fierce as ever ("Mommy, I know how to use the blender," she says, before wreaking blueberry smoothie havoc on the kitchen). But Olivia soon senses that in her mother's eyes, a kind of behavioral Rubicon has been crossed; desperate to learn more about her fate, she resorts to domestic espionage. Falconer's elegant charcoal and gouache drawings are a sight for sore eyes, and he comes up with wonderful camouflages for his heroine, including one involving a Rothko-like painting. Olivia overhears the word "institution," deduces that it refers to prison, and-for a few important pages- thinks that she has been beat. Seeing Olivia cowed, submissive, and sadly packing her suitcase for what she believes is a trip to the Big House may surprise her diehard fans, but it's soon revealed that the institution in question is the ballet, where she, of course, steals the show. Falconer leaves no doubt that Olivia emerges from her dark moment of the soul ready to tackle whatever seizes her attention next. Ages 4-8. Agent: Conrad Rippy, Levine Plotkin & Menin. (Apr.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
School Library Journal Review
PreS-Gr 2-Olivia, the long-eared, precocious pig in striped pajamas, decides to become a spy in order to hear her mother's many complaints about her behavior. Unfortunately, she misunderstands a half-overheard conversation and lets her imagination get the best of her, convincing herself that her parents intend to send her to prison. With a trembling lip, Olivia prepares for the worst, only to find herself at the ballet (a different sort of "institution," it seems). Falconer's trademark style is in full form. After more than 10 books, this spunky, spirited pig and her antics strike a familiar note with children and adults alike. The pages are deliberately spare, with explosive pops of teal, orange, red, and pink. The details are full of whimsy, especially Olivia's brilliant and amusing camouflage strategies. Falconer returns to his unique artistic technique, adding superimposed photos of classic architecture and artwork. VERDICT Young and old fans of Olivia, as well as those new to her antics, will adore this cautionary tale about eavesdropping. Perfect for one-on-one and small group sharing.-Clara Hendricks, Cambridge Public Library, MA © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Falconer's intrepid piglet returns for what might be her greatest challenge to date: blending in. While walking down the hall, Olivia overhears her mother complaining about what a handful her daughter is. Sure, there was the exploding blender mishap, and Olivia's decision to wash her red socks with her dad's white shirts but she'd made a smoothie and done laundry by herself! Olivia begins to wonder what else her mother has been saying about her, and transforms herself into a spy to find out. In a series of comic illustrations, Falconer shows Olivia listening at keyholes and camouflaging herself to blend in with the home decor. Unsurprisingly, Olivia eventually hears something upsetting and grows afraid that her parents are planning to send her away. Not to worry, though: Olivia's newest escapade has a happy ending and some sensible advice regarding eavesdropping. As always, Falconer's charcoal-and-gouache illustrations capture the dramatic flair of Olivia's personality and lively imagination. Funny and sweet, this endearing new addition to the Olivia series doesn't disappoint. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Olivia is beloved by young readers, who will swarm or sneak to get their hands on a copy of this book.--Smith, Julia Copyright 2017 Booklist
Kirkus Book Review
That irrepressible porker is back.This time Olivia's up to espionage, or eavesdropping, or listening in on her parents' conversationcall it what you willand misinterprets what she overhears. In typical fashion, Olivia decides she doesn't like what she's heard and sets out to "investigate." This means trying to blend in and play incognito, not an easy task given the piglet's penchant for standing out. Her teacher's innocent and well-meant explanation of an ominous-sounding word casually uttered by her dad ups the stakes to something that seems truly dire. When her mom tells her they're going on a surprise trip, Olivia can't help but imagine the worst: they're headed foroh, no!an institution where, no doubt, she'll be locked up for serious misdemeanors. Turns out, the dreaded place is actually New York's Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts; Olivia's going to the ballet. How lovely for Olivia, but it does seem at odds with her mother's frustration with her daughter's latest infractions. The story's thin, but, as usual, this newest installment in the popular series is full of funny bits, while adults' bewildered, clueless expressions and Olivia's earnest obliviousness in the charcoal-and-gouache illustrations are priceless. References to Julia Child and ballet terms will be above most kids' heads, and a gratuitous accidental visit to the stage instead of the restroom feels tacked-on. Once die-hard fans spy this, they'll make a grab for it. (Picture book. 4-7) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.