Clutching my ticket and eyeing my horse, I am thrilled to step on the Character Assassination Carousel. Nicole Leigh Shaw, Tyop Aretist, invites bloggers to tell the world how they really feel about their not-so-favorite children's book.
When my 15 year old was little she was gifted Olivia …and the Missing Toy by Ian Falconer. At bedtime, we excitedly grabbed her new book, but I could have never guessed how this would have turned out. I mean, it's a book about a sweet little pig looking for her lost dolly…right?
I was sorely mistaken.
The book starts off with Olivia's mom waking her up and telling her to get ready for soccer. Olivia is not happy because her soccer uniform comes in a “very unattractive green.” She insists that her mother make her a homemade red soccer uniform so that she'll stand out from her team.
I'm pretty sure the broader developmental goals of placing your child on a team is not to help them exert their individuality. Teamwork, working together as one, these are truly valuable lessons. My son showed up to a football game with the wrong color socks and I got looks of scorn from the other mothers. Really a whole new uniform? Did she bedazzle it too?
What mother, the morning of the game, has time to make a new soccer uniform for her child …just because?
I am usually dragging the kids out of bed, throwing them in the car, and racing to some field out in the middle of nowhere. Is this pig so in tune with her brat of a child that she instinctively knew she needed to wake Olivia up hours before the game, just in case?
As this Mother of the Year sets to work, Olivia stands there naked, watching and waiting. Why is she naked? She was wearing pajamas a few pages ago and is fully clothed for the ending.
The garment now complete, Mother proudly shows the new uniform to the impatient Olivia. Instead of saying thank you, Olivia demands to know where her favorite toy has disappeared to.
Olivia runs wildly through the house, only stopping to yell at her unsuspecting brothers.
It is obvious at this point that no one is making it to the game. What a colossal waste of a perfectly good Saturday morning.
All of a sudden, the book gets dark and spooky. Olivia grabs her candelabra – are there no flashlights? What happened to the power anyway? The sewing machine was working fine a few minutes ago.
At this point, my daughter started freaking out in bed, so in hopes of avoiding a nightmare, we hurried through this part. Ten years later my daughter still refers to Olivia …and the Missing Toy, as "the scary book with the dark hallway." So much for a sweet little story about a cute pink pig.
Turns out the careless pig left her “best toy” on the floor for the dog to chew.
Olivia starts to cry.
You want to feel bad for her, don't you? Don't cry little Olivia… Her father consoles her and tells her that they will go out tomorrow to buy her “the very best toy in the whole world.”
Olivia thanks her father and tells him that she loves him more than anyone. Really? More than ANYONE? Including the woman, who is now cooking dinner? The one who has yet to get so much as a simple “thank you” for handcrafting a new soccer uniform?
If looks could kill, that bratty pig would be bacon by now.
At the end of the book, Olivia redeems her self a little by taking it upon herself to fix her toy, but I would bet that her father buys her a new toy anyway.
You know that there is going to be an all out brawl in the pig pen tonight. That poor man has no idea what he just did.
If she plays her cards right, teenage Olivia can look forward to a lot of trips to the mall with Daddy's credit card. She has quite the racket brewing.
I loved taking my ride on the carousel, but unfortunately, I've got to hop off to go make dinner for my little piglets. Tonight's menu – Roast Pork.
All images in this post come from Olivia…and the Missing Toy by Ian Falconier. All rights reserved by the original creator. This book can be found in most local bookstores and online.