Olivia the Spy, a Review

Olivia’s back! I have always loved Olivia. From her very first misadventure…..






to that time she lost her toy…..







and especially as a princess……

Image result for olivia and the fairy princesses







I have loved this character. I relate to her. Curious, mischievous, snarky, the girl’s got moxie! Where so many other books show girls as sweet and demure or shy, Olivia has always stood out as a strong, dramatic character with attitude. She marches to her own beat and she doesn’t care how loud it is! Fortunately, thanks to the push for diverse books, more titles are being published that show strong female characters. Falconer, however, was doing that with Olivia long before it was trendy or PC to do so.









Olivia is true to form here and this may be one of the best in the series yet. She inadvertently overhears her mom talking about her which leads to Olivia devising grand schemes, blowing things out of proportion and being in the wrong place at the right time.









I appreciate the hilarious illustrations. There’s something about the way she’s drawn as a pig that doesn’t look like any other pig out there that’s just….funny. I also love the way Falconer introduces kids to new and complex words like investigateinstitution and misinformation.









The bathroom at the ballet? Wait for it. It’s good.

But if you’re an Olivia fan, you KNOW that!

Share your favorite book with a strong female character in the comments!

Until next time….



Flying Eye Books, a Review

I have much love for picture books. But after years of being immersed in picture books I’m pretty picky. From story to typography, everything has to be ‘on fleek’ as the kids say (Are they still saying it? Since adults are, probably not.)  I can spot a stinker a range a way but every now and then I’m blown away by someone who gets it right. Flying Eye Books gets it right. every. time.

These were just a few titles my library had on the shelf. Don’t they have the most interesting covers? All the covers are eye-catching, colorful and visually pleasing.  The layout, color, font, orientation and binding hit all the right notes. Book covers should say, “Pick me up!” and theirs most definitely do.



Even their endpapers are beautiful.

From “Imelda and the Goblin King” by Briony May Smith






From “Neffy and the Feathered Dinosaurs” by Joe Lillington




While the books vary in approach, they’re all stunning examples of each illustrator’s style and the impact illustrations can have in storytelling. No missed opportunities here in capturing the tone of each story. In Marcel, the collage illustrations are funky and urban perfectly fitting for a book about a dog in New York City. The Journey tells the story of a mother and her two children who are refugees in search of a new home after fleeing their war-torn homeland. That’s a hard story to tell children. Much of the story takes place at night so most of the pages have a black background giving the reader the sense of darkness. While the text tells the children’s point of view, it is the illustrations shown from the mother’s point of view that give you the real story. The Journey is, in my opinion, one of the better picture books on this topic. I love the retro look in How Many Legs. And that double page spread in Boo! just begs for audience participation. What kid wouldn’t want to yell out, “Boo!” when he sees that?

Check out and drool over the rest of their titles here. Are there publishers you love? Share them in the comments.

Happy reading!