Olivia and the Fairy Princesses

Book review by
Regan McMahon, Common Sense Media
Olivia and the Fairy Princesses Book Poster Image
A good-humored identity crisis makes this one a royal hoot.

Parents say

age 3+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 18+
Based on 1 review

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Sly allusions to avant-garde dancer Isadora Duncan, Olivia's role model, whose photo hangs above her bed. Shows what princesses in different countries (Africa, India, Thailand, China) look like. Mentions Little Red Riding Hood and the story of The Little Match Girl. Some sophisticated vocabulary, including "depressed," "effective," "elderly," and "corporate malfeasance."

Positive Messages

Pick your own style, be an individual, it's OK to want to stand apart from the crowd. "If everyone's a princess, then princesses aren't special anymore!" says Olivia.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Olivia strives to be special, not just like everybody else. She shares her "identity crisis" with her parents and methodically explores other attractive roles besides princess. Her mom is patient, supportive, a good listener, and reads to her but is firm about bedtime. And OIivia doesn't let her bratty side take over in this book.

Violence & Scariness

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Olivia and the Fairy Princesses is about Olivia the pig's desire for individuality. She tells her parents that she's having "an identity crisis" because she doesn't want to be a princess in pink like all the kids in her ballet class, at birthday parties, and on Halloween, so she explores other things she could be. It's an offbeat, humorous look at a common feeling: wanting to be special. Great for reading aloud.

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Kid, 11 years old September 4, 2012

Olivia - no way are you coming to my bookshelf.

Olivia is the demon of every unuverse - her behaviour is adult, mature and raunchy (including a few things that kids shouldn't copy!) so kids should stay c... Continue reading

What's the story?

Olivia, the adorable but self-absorbed pig, is having an identity crisis. She's surrounded by girls and \"even a couple of the boys\" who want to dress like princesses in pink -- in ballet class, for Halloween, at birthday parties. Olivia talks to her mom about her desire to be something different, more distinctive, and tries on a few of those identities -- a princess from India, Africa, Thailand, or China, or maybe a nurse or reporter. In the end, she figures out a role that's more significant than princess and so in keeping with her bossy side: queen!

Is it any good?

OLIVIA AND THE FAIRY PRINCESSES is more enjoyable than some Olivia outings because she's not being bratty; she's just expressing an honest desire to stand out from the crowd. The art, as usual, is fantastic and amusing. We see Olivia in a sea of pink princesses at a birthday party wearing her preferred blue-and-white striped shirt; in ballet class among the pink tutus wearing a black-and-white striped leotard; and full of angst, "trying to develop a more stark, modern style" in a charcoal gray stretchy number like Isadora Duncan, whose photo hangs above her bed. It's an extreme (and funny) exploration of a common instinct: wanting to not be like everybody else. A great read-aloud for bedtime or anytime.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about wanting to be special. Kids: Do you prefer to dress like your friends or wear something different?

  • Why do you think so many girls would like to be a princess?

  • Have you read other Olivia books? How do you think this one compares? Is is as good as the others? Better? What is it about Olivia that makes her books so popular?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love picture books and animals

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