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Olivia by Ian Falconer



Book by Ian Falconer
Summary: Olivia
is good at singing 40 very loud songs and is very good at wearing people out. And scaring the living daylights out of her little brother, Ian, particularly when he copies her every move. She is also quite skilled at reproducing Jackson Pollock's "Autumn Rhythm #30" on the walls at home. When her mother tucks her in at night and says, "You know, you really wear me out. But I love you anyway," Olivia precociously pronounces, "I love you anyway too."

Level 2 Unit and Lapbook by Taryn Hearn

Social Studies

The author states that Olivia is good at many things. Have your child make a mini book showing (with pictures or words) things that they are good at doing. Layered book included.


The book depicts Olivia doing many of the things she loves. Try acting out some of the things with your child. Use the attached pictures to create action cards. Cut the cards out and have your child act out the picture represented on the card.


Olivia has a little brother named Ian. Sometimes they get along, and sometimes they don’t. Does your child have a sibling relationship they’d like to explore. Perhaps you are preparing your child for a future sibling. Or maybe mom or dad can talk to the child about their siblings. Use the attached mini book to explore these relationships.


Olivia has a morning routine (move the cat, brush teeth, comb ears, move the cat again) and an evening routine (nice bath, nice dinner, read books with mom, bedtime). Discuss with your child routines that your family has in place. Use the attached chart to help your child identify their routines. Have them write, draw pictures, or use the attached clipart to complete the chart.


Language Arts

When Olivia goes to the beach with her mother, “she feels it’s to come prepared.” Discuss the meaning of the word “prepared” with your child. Use the attached mini book to help your child create a list to prepare for an upcoming event like running errands, housecleaning, vacation planning, party planning, etc.


Olivia’s mother takes her to the beach or sunny days and to the museum on rainy days. Help your child use the attached mini book to make a list or draw pictures of things he/she likes to do on sunny days, rainy days, and cloudy days. Later, you can check the weather and pick something off of your list to do!


At the end of the book, Olivia and her mother express their love for one another. Discuss with your child ways to express love for friends and family. Use the attached mini book to help the child come up with ways to express love.


The definition of personification is “human characteristics that are attributed to an abstract quality, animal, or inanimate object.” Olivia is an animal that is personified with human characteristics. Help your child write their own story (with accompanying illustration) using personification. Children too young to write can dictate the story and have a parent write it.   Here is a page of images you can use to discuss personification or to make a mini-book however you desire.


“O” for “Olivia: Cut an “O” shape out of Sandpaper, Felt, or another textured paper of your choice. Glue the “O” on to a piece of construction paper. Help the child brainstorm words that start with “O.” Let the child draw pictures of the items (or look for them in magazines) on small squares of paper and glue the pictures onto the “O” page. Try a new letter each week, and add them to an "Alphabet Notebook” for your child.



Have your child draw or paint a picture of their family just like Olivia has done.


Have your child create a splatter painting or string painting. (This activity of best performed in an area that is easily cleaned) String/Yarn can be dipped in paint and then wiped across the paper. Or paintbrushes dipped in paint can be “flicked” at the paper to create a splatter effect.


An older student may be interested in learning about the famous works of art depicted in the book. Check out the following website to see the works and learn more about the artists:



Time Measurement

Short Term: Olivia says that she could “do that” painting in about 5minutes. Talk with your child about time, including how long it takes to do certain activities. Set a timer for different increments of time, so the child can have a concept of how long they are.


Long term: Last summer Olivia’s mom showed her how to make sand castles. Talk about some things with your child that happened in the near past (or will happen in the near future). Pull out some photographs from last summer or winter to show the child how they have changed. Talk about a vacation or other exciting event that will be happening in the near future. Perhaps a countdown calendar could be made to cross off the days in anticipation.


Counting: Olivia provides many opportunities for counting. Count all of the different Olivia’s in the book. Count the people (and animals) in Olivia’s family. Count all of Olivia’s different outfits. Count all of the different activities Olivia participates in.


Olivia also provides a good introduction to subtraction. At the end of the book, Olivia negotiates with her mother regarding nighttime book reading. Try using books (or another favorite manipulative) to introduce the concept of subtraction. “How many books do we have here? We have five books. If we put one book back on the shelf, how many do we have left?”  


Additional Fun

After reading Olivia, You may wish to take a field trip with your child to one of the following places: Art Museum, Ballet Performance, Beach, Local Park with a Sandbox


Have a fashion show just like Olivia does in the book. Invite your child’s friends over to participate, as well.


Additional Books

Other books about spirited little girls include “Fancy Nancy” and “Eloise.”