Monday, September 21, 2009

Review #44: Oliver Finds His Way

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?
Lily:  Yep.
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!

Oliver, by Gracie

Oliver and friend playing baseball, by Lily

Oliver in the woods, by Isaac

Author: Phyllis Root
Illustrator: Christopher Denise
Published, 2002: Candlewick Press
Like it?  Find it


Corey Schwartz said...

Wow! The Zenz art is absolutely astounding!

Swati said...

I didn't realize the kids were using the same media as in the book. And they are already talking the book writing/illustrating lingo. Awesome!

Carrie said...

Well, Gracie does make a very good point about fall and math. Fall is my favorite season but I hate math with a passion so I'm sympathetic!

Heidi Noel said...

I love how pastels look so bright. I am in the mood for fall. It was 100 degrees yesterday though. (I am in the Southwest.)

ElizT said...

And I have pale pink cherry blossom outside my window.

Monica said...

Oh, I just love you guys! Another great review! My children and I have already read several books about Fall today. I am going to have to look into getting Oliver Finds His Way--they will love it, I'm sure. It's much too green here in Kansas to feel like Fall, though. :0(

Kelly H-Y said...

The book looks fabulous! And, your drawings ... so awesome!

Anonymous said...

I haven't been stopping by Bookie Woogie as often as I should. As always, the conversation is delightful, as are the Zenz renderingZ of the story. Must pick this one up.

Melissa said...

What a great review! Fall is my absolute favorite season and I was excited to see it so joyously celebrated! I laughed so hard when Gracie said, "Unless you are having a Who-can-cry-the-longest Contest." That was just fantastic and it is STILL making me laugh.