Olivia Goes to Venice
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This issue’s cover features Ally Kennen and her latest book, Quarry. Ally Kennen is interviewed by Julia Eccleshare. Thanks to Marion Lloyd Books for their help with this January cover.
By clicking here you can view, print or download the fully artworked Digital Edition of BfK 186 January 2011
Olivia is a fine role model: a female who makes her own choices and views the world very much from her own perspective. Those of us who know the other Olivia books are not surprised at her decisiveness right from the first page of Olivia Goes to Venice: ‘Olivia decided that she and her family ought to spend a few days in Venice.’ The illustrations are works of art: cartoons and line drawings of the family’s activities are superimposed on familiar classic representations of Venice’s fine views and buildings. A more down-to-earth enjoyment is indulgence in the gelato which Olivia in particular consumes with gusto. The fun and entertainment come from sharing Olivia’s personal and sometimes eccentric response to all the new experiences. But there are moments when the sheer beauty of Venice is appreciated. On their last day the family return to San Marco, savouring the sight of the basilica – ‘all peach and gold in the late afternoon light’. Then Olivia shows her startled family the stone she has taken from the bell tower as her ‘perfect souvenir’. As the family hasten to the airport Mother looks back in horror at a post-modern fantasy: the tower, minus a keystone thanks to Olivia, is collapsing dramatically. Children and older readers will find reading and looking at this book with its boundary breaking, its excess and its humour an exhilarating experience.