Editorial Anonymous, one of my favorite blogs, said:
"Children like Fancy Nancy too, but I think a significant part of its extreme popularity, like Olivia's, is attributable to the character coinciding with many adults' perception of little girls."
I think the point about Olivia being more for the adults than the kids is really well made--
I know my almost-4-year-old finds Olivia boring. Why should she listen to a story about someone doing things that she can do herself? (try on clothes, pretend to be a ballerina...)
Especially since, for a child, these are not "amusing anecdotes." They're what she does all day. They're deadly serious... fun, but serious...
I've noticed a BIG difference between 2 and 4.... at 2 she liked humdrum everyday stories that reinforced her ideas about how the world worked.
At almost 4, she wants high adventure, or at least strange situations.
We've had to move on to chapter books. She LOVED Little House in the Big Woods. A world with no TV? Only 2 books? and no appliances? And bears???? How exciting!
We're currently working through "Wizard of Oz" --Evil witches, Talking scarecrows, interesting illustrations...... How can we go wrong?
I'd like to see more "High Adventure" picture books for her age... not more than 1100 words or so, lots of good guys, bad guys, mild peril, etc......
Maybe I'll just have to write one....
But then the question becomes: Is she normal? Or is it WEIRD for a kid to want that?