Olivia the Pig

What’s black and white and red all over? Olivia, the Piglet! If you don’t know who Olivia is, there is a good chance you do not have a preschool child in the family. Olivia is a piglet, created by author Ian Falconer, as a gift for his new niece, Olivia. Because he decided to share Olivia with the rest of us, she has become a gift of fresh air to all of us.

Olivia is good at lots of things. Thus starts the first of a series of books about a piglet who likes to dress up, sing songs, build sand castles, dance, paint on walls and avoid naps. She loves the beach and art museums. She has a favorite painting, “Ballet Rehearsal on the Set” by Edgar Degas. At the same time, she is puzzled by Jackson Pollock’s “Autumn Rhythm,” a painting Olivia finds so simplistic that she is sure she can make one herself. It is thoughts like that that tend to get her into trouble.

The star of 10 different books, Olivia is a piglet with so much personality, once you meet her, you will be smitten. She lives life large and on her own terms. In the book, “Olivia and the Fairy Princess” Olivia expresses her need to be her own pig. She wants to stand out from others, marching to her own drum beat. She doesn’t want to be just like the other girls. When they dress as a princess, she dresses like a warthog. In time, Olivia figures out just who she wants to be.

When Ian created Olivia, his artwork was outstanding. He used black-and-white drawings with a trace of red in each one. The artwork just adds to the appeal of Olivia. 

She has branched out from the books, appearing with her two brothers, parents and other family members on “Olivia,” also known as “Welcome to the World of Olivia the Pig.” For more than 30 episodes, this delightful 6-year-old pig has fantasized herself through many roles. Her perky nature appeals to kids and their parents. She even has her own website.

Olivia has also made a place for herself on local toy store shelves. Olivia has moved beyond the stuffed piglet dolls, which are available. She has been turned into an Olivia Jack-in-the-box, a character bank, and has a play house that is both a house and a pirate ship. Little ones can also dress a plastic Olivia doll that has jointed legs. Dress-up sets feature anywhere from 15 to 35 individual pieces. 

The simple answer to “Who is Olivia the Pig?” is that she is a pig that preschoolers love. The better answer is that Olivia is an adventurous piglet who lives life to the fullest through her stories.