It’s no secret that we love Ian Falconer’s Olivia series. Starring a young pig and her family, her adventures have included searching out her missing toy, saving a circus from disaster, and going to bed. They are some of the best children’s books we’ve read in ages and we snag each new one as it becomes available.
So it is with a mixture of damnable hope and trepidation that we heard Nickelodeon’s getting an animated 3-D CGI Olivia series in 1Q2009. Twenty-six half-hour episodes are planned. Why 3-D CGI? It was Olivia creator Ian Falconer’s idea, says Chorion, the media content company that’s working with Nickelodeon on the project.
In keeping with Olivia’s stellar publishing history, books will be featured prominently in the upcoming consumer products roll out. The Simon Spotlight and Simon Scribbles imprints of Simon and Schuster will be developing a robust television tie-in program with a myriad of formats, from storybooks to novelty and coloring books set to launch in late 2009. Olivia’s imagination leads the way in this new series which aims to foster the sense of make-believe and play that every preschooler has. The show will encourage children to be creative and to think beyond the scope of everyday parameters, instilling a sense that with a strong imagination, there are endless possibilities for any great idea. Mostly the show, like this character, celebrates a spunky, confident personality who is always wondering ‘what if?’
Here’s a tip for Nickelodeon and Chorion and everybody else: make it a show for preschoolers that parents will want to watch and you’ve got a winner on your hands. There’s a trick to making a cartoon watchable by multiple generations. Adults dig the inclusion of a Pollock painting out of the blue as well as the expressions on the parents’ faces as they’re dealing with life with Olivia. It’s word of mouth from adults that’s made this a franchise–so don’t blow it.