Dad: Guess what is coming up this week?
Lily (age 6): Fall, Fall, Fall, Fall. I see a tree out the window that has already changed colors.
Dad: Are you glad or sad that Fall is here?
Gracie (age 9): I don't want Fall to be here. I have to do Math and it's hard. You have to do Math in the Fall.
Isaac (age 11): I'm happy.
Gracie: I do want it to be cold so I can wear long sleeves again. It's pleasant wearing long sleeves.
Lily: I'm filled with joy because I can jump in big piles of leaves.
Dad: Do you like raking leaves too?
Lily: NO! It's hard work.
Dad: So Dad does the hard work, and you guys get to do the fun part?
Isaac: Leaves are my favorite part of Fall. I like to make a big, big pile of leaves, and I can crawl under them without anyone knowing I'm there. But once Lily jumped on me.
Dad: Oh, that does sound like fun. I want to jump on you too.
Gracie: I like eating cranberries, ham, and potatoes.
Isaac: Oo! Carmel Apples!
Dad: So in honor of the first week of fall, we're looking at one of my favorite books, "Oliver Finds His Way." It's written by Phyllis Root and illustrated by Christopher Denise.
Gracie: It's got really, really cool pictures.
Lily: The little bear is so cute.
Dad: Do you remember when we reviewed "Flip, Flap, Fly"? I told you Phyllis Root gets the best illustrators. This is another great example.
Gracie: The bear has such small legs. He doesn't even have legs! Just feet! (Gracie begins waddling around the room) It's hard walking like a midget...
Dad: Alright, tell me about the book...
Isaac: It's about a bear named Oliver. Oliver sees this yellow leaf, and he chases it around a clumpy bush and a twisty tree.
Gracie: It's a big, big yellow leaf that is practically the size of his head. Oliver gets lost in the woods while he's chasing the leaf. So then he starts to cry. But crying doesn't help nuttin'.
Lily: And I learned something from this book. I learned that I shall not cry. When you are in trouble, you have to use your head and think, think, think.
Dad: Crying doesn't fix problems?
Lily: No way, no, no, no.
Gracie: Unless you are having a Who-can-cry-the-longest Contest.
Dad: I've never heard of any such thing.
Gracie: Well, I would certainly win.
Dad: So how did Oliver solve his problem?
Isaac: Oliver thinks, and he figures out what to do.
Gracie: His idea was to communicate.
Lily: He found his way back home by roaring. He roared, and then his mom and dad roared back, and he found his way home.
Gracie: He used his mouth. And his ears. And his pink, squishy, little brain.
Dad: Do any of you ever remember getting lost?
Gracie: I remember one time. Grammy, Mommy, and I were at the store. I was hiding in the clothes hangers. Then I got out and they were still there. But then I turned around -- because I took one of the shirts off the hanger, and I put it against me, and I looked in one of those mirrors, and I was like "Oooooo," and kept looking at myself. And when I turned around they weren't there anymore.
Dad: Vanity. Will get you in trouble every time...
Gracie: Momma taught me not to run around. She taught me to stay where I am, then call for her and look for the colors she is wearing. But that was a little difficult because we were in the clothes section.
Dad: Christopher Denise is one of my favorite illustrators. Do you think he goes out into the woods and looks at nature? Or do you think he can draw trees like that out of his head?
Gracie: To draw like that, he definitely would have to do observation.
Lily: Oliver is little and cute. But the mom and dad are fat so they can be snug in their fur.
Dad: That's good for bears. Especially if winter is coming up.
Lily: But they have clothes and blankets.
Dad: Yeah, so these guys aren't quite like real bears, are they? I don't think they will necessarily hibernate.
Isaac: The pictures are all made out of very rich colors like browns, yellow, reds. Mostly orangey-reds and greens.
Gracie: I think he uses pastel.
Dad: Let's see if the book tells us... Um... Yep, it says that the illustrations were done in pastels and charcoal.
Gracie: Yea! Let's use pastels to do our pictures today! WOO! Yes! Let's do it!
Isaac: I love using pastels.
Gracie: Let's go do it! WOO! We're using pastels, baby!
Author: Phyllis Root
Illustrator: Christopher Denise
Published, 2002: Candlewick Press
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