Searching For Oliver K. Woodman by Darcy Pattison, illustrated by Joe Cepeda (Harcourt, 2005). Oliver K. Woodman is missing, but no worries! Private Eye Imogene Poplar is on the case. She travels across the United States, clear to the top of the world (Barrow, Alaska) to bring Oliver home. Ages 4-up. Highly recommended. See also the companion book, The Journey Of Oliver K. Woodman, from the same creative team (Harcourt, 2003).
The Oliver K. Woodman books are in many ways a celebration of travel, the diversity within the United States, the kindness of strangers, and the loving appeal of home. The span of U.S. cities and regions also offers a rich opportunity for curriculum connections.
Joe Cepeda has illustrated another book I particularly like, Juan Bobo Goes To Work: A Puerto Rican Folk Tale by Marisa Montes (Harper, 2000), and one of my all-time favorites, What A Truly Cool World by Julius Lester (Scholastic, 1999).
An Activity Kit for Searching For Oliver K. Woodman from Harcourt Brace.
An Interview with Author Darcy Pattison and illustrator Joe Cepeda from Harcourt Brace.
An Interview With Julius Lester from Downhomebooks.com.
What a Truly Cool World: A Visual Interpretation from Janet Hilbun (hosted on Kay E. Vandergrift’s Special Interest Page; one of the children’s literature mega resources). Definitely do this. Go to the page and think about what the featured illustration says to you. Then learn more about Visual Interpretive Analysis of Children’s Book Illustration.
Who Wrote That? Featuring Marisa Montes from Patricia M. Newman (published in California Kids! May 2003). Patricia’s site also offers articles on numerous other children’s authors.
Status: currently reading Each Little Bird That Sings by Deborah Wiles (Harcourt, 2005); lately blogging on spookycyn about my cousin, “Six Feet Under,” Mr. Clean, Vampire Kisses, ZTejas, and Rebel Angels.