Passing on Pink: Olivia and the Fairy Princesses by Ian Falconer
"I THINK I'M HAVING AN IDENTITY CRISIS!" OLIVIA TOLD HER PARENTS.
"AT PIPPA'S BIRTHDAY PARTY, THEY WERE ALL DRESSED IN BIG PINK RUFFLY SKIRTS WITH SPARKLES AND LITTLE CROWNS AND SPARKLY WANDS--INCLUDING SOME OF THE BOYS!
WHY IS IT ALWAYS PINK PRINCESSS? WHY NOT INDIAN PRINCESSES? PRINCESSES FROM THAILAND? AFRICAN PRINCESSES?"
It had to happen. Sooner or later somebody HAD to opt out of the pink princessy fairy fad, and who better suited for that contrarian role that our favorite primary grade persnickety pig, Olivia! It's a hard row to hoe to swim upstream (to mix metaphors), but Olivia is determined to free herself of the prevailing fairy fashions:
I'M TRYING TO DEVELOP A MORE STARK, MODERN STYLE," OLIVIA SAYS.
No more pink-tutu-ed fairy prima ballerinas for Olivia. She dresses as a blue warthog, as a Soho sophisticate in a black, stretchy uni-dress, and takes Martha Grahame as her model.
"IF EVERYONE IS A PRINCESS, THEN PRINCESSES ARE NOT SPECIAL ANYMORE," SHE POINTS OUT.
But finding a suitable substitute image is not easy for Olivia. Her aspirations tend toward the grandiose, and seeing herself in even a heroically visualized vocation--nurse, orphan advocate, star reporter--doesn't quite do it for our precocious pig girl!
In Ian Falconer's latest (and most fashion-forward) picture book, Olivia and the Fairy Princesses (Atheneum, 2012) Olivia settles, pro tempore, for being a queen, not exactly shaking the whole royalty image, but at least avoiding the sparkly-wand-and-crown thing and the persistently ubiquitous pinkanista fetish while retaining her regal aspirations, albeit at a senior level. Her compromise may be a bit ironic, but totally consistent with Olivia's drama-queen personality. Still, some readers (and parents) will hail Olivia in her new role at the forefront of the anti-pink rebellion.
As Kirkus Review piquantly puts it, "... panache aplenty!"
Labels: Pig Stories (Grades Preschool-3)