Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

Olivia and the Fairy Princesses

Falconer, Ian (Author/Illustrator)
Simon & Schuster 2012. 36 pages
First published: 2012
ISBN: 9781442450271 (hardcover)
9781442450288 (e-book)
Original language: English
Book type: Picture Book

Text Elements:

character

Reading Range

 
Cycle
Elementary
Secondary
 
1
2
3
1
2
ELA
K
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5

Description:

Olivia doesn’t know what she wants to do in life. Her father assures her she’ll always be his “little princess,” sparking Olivia’s outburst against this tired version of femininity. “They were all dressed in pink, ruffly skirts … I chose a simple French sailor shirt, matador pants.” The text also cleverly introduces other kinds of gender subversion: “For the school dance recital, everyone was trying out for the fairy princess ballerina. Even a couple of the boys.”

Charming pen illustrations depict the massive snout and tiny trotters of Olivia and the others. Delicate line is enriched by subtle shading and a limited colour palette. One spread highlights cross-cultural awareness, with pig-princesses in traditional costume from around the world. (“Why not an Indian princess or…?”) Another funny spread shows an array of Olivia’s dancing in a stretchy ‘bag’ costume that contrasts with the pink tutus in the previous image. “I’m trying to develop a more stark, modern style.”

In the end, Olivia considers a variety of life-roles for herself. Readers who know and love her will likely concur with the wisdom of her final decision: “I want to be queen.”

  •  

    List all the princesses you know. Discuss how they are similar and different. What words would you use to describe them?

  •  

    Read the book description and examine the illustrations. Discuss what it means to “march to the beat of her own drum.” Make predictions about the story.

  •  

    Notice the illustrator’s use of black and white, and colour. Why do you think he made these choices?

  •  

    How do you fit in or march to the beat of your own drum. Use a graphic organizer to show what makes you the same and different from your peers.

  •  Write Olivia a letter of advice about how to express herself.
  •  

    The inside front cover notes that Olivia likes to “stand out,” “marches to the beat of her own drum” and wants to “do more than just fit in.” Discuss the meanings of these idiomatic expressions and add them, with definitions, to a class list.

  •  

    Notice how the illustrator uses black and white, and colour. Why do you think he made these choices?

  •  

    Discuss how you stand out and how you fit in. Make a poster of yourself with pictures and sentences illustrating these features.

  • To construct his/her identity
  • To use creativity
  • Health and Well-Being
  • Dance
  • Ethics and Religious Culture