Searching for Oliver K. Woodman

Overview

Imogene Poplar, Private Eye, is on a hot case. Her friend Oliver K. Woodman is missing, and she's tracking him across the glorious US of A. A baseball game in Green River, a rodeo in Seattle, a razzmatazz jazz blow in Chicago—there are clues and adventures in every city. But Imogene, like Oliver, is made of wood, so she needs help getting around. Friendly folks of all sorts guide her from South Carolina clear out to Alaska!

Where will Oliver's trail lead Imogene next? Read the ...

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Overview

Imogene Poplar, Private Eye, is on a hot case. Her friend Oliver K. Woodman is missing, and she's tracking him across the glorious US of A. A baseball game in Green River, a rodeo in Seattle, a razzmatazz jazz blow in Chicago—there are clues and adventures in every city. But Imogene, like Oliver, is made of wood, so she needs help getting around. Friendly folks of all sorts guide her from South Carolina clear out to Alaska!

Where will Oliver's trail lead Imogene next? Read the letters. Follow the map. Then see if you can guess the elusive wooden man's next move.

Imogene Poplar, a private investigator made of wood, is sent by a reporter and Tameka's Uncle Ray in search of the missing Oliver K. Woodman, and her journey is related through the letters and postcards of those she meets along the way.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Praise for The Journey of Oliver K. Woodman:
[star] "Wonderful . . . All geography lessons should be this much fun."
Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
[star] "A mini-quest complete with adventure, danger, and suspense. Youngsters will delight in the whimsy."—The Bulletin (starred review)
"Picture book-perfect."—The Horn Book
Publishers Weekly
Pattison and Cepeda bring back the wooden traveler from their The Journey of Oliver K. Woodman, which recounted his trip from east coast to west to visit a girl named Tameka. This time, however, Oliver's experiences take a back seat to those of another life-size wooden figure, Ms. Imogene Poplar, P.I. Sent out with a note ("I am a private investigator searching for Oliver K. Woodman.... Please help me find him") the heroine's highway adventures-and near misses-in her search for Oliver are similarly recounted in the letters and postcards from the people she encounters (a Broadway singer, a Chicago jazz sideman, a Seattle weatherman, etc.). Cepeda's trademark palette dominates the spreads (many of them wordless) in paintings that highlight the sights of the various cities and towns. In the narrative, Imogene seemingly repays the favors of those who give her a lift. For instance, she's shown stiffly guarding the rodeo clown who drove her to Seattle, while the letter reads, "Ms. P.I.... doesn't flinch at all when the bulls charge." Small details, such as clever license plates (the clown's plate reads "EEEHA"), add to the book's subtle humor. A sidebar story about a budding romance between Imogene and Oliver's creator (Tameka's Uncle Ray) and a reporter, adds another twist to this whimsical cross-country jaunt. Young readers will eagerly await more exciting travels from the wooden duo, who finally meet up under the northern lights in Alaska. Ages 5-8. (Mar.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
This sequel to Journey of Oliver K. Woodman is a story of pursuit and close encounters. Woodman is off again on cross-country travel but has not reported in to his creator, Uncle Ralph, for two months. Niece Tameka in California writes to Paige Hall, a local newspaper reporter in South Carolina, who agrees to publish a missing report on Woodman. Paige Hall's follow-up to the search story results in meeting Uncle Ralph. Together they enlist the help of another silent creature made of wood, Private Investigator Imogene Poplar. This character is the female equivalent to Woodman. The text of this picture book is composed entirely of letters, news articles, posted notes and postcards written largely by helpful characters who meet either Woodman or Poplar on route across the country. From SC to CA, Poplar is on the trail of Woodman with stops at an opera, a baseball game, a jazz concert and a rodeo. The illustrations are vivid with visible brush strokes that give the full page oil paintings a sense of action surrounding the very still wooden figures of Woodman and Poplar. A smart feature is the seven wordless spread illustrations that provide the reader a pause and reflection throughout the search. The front endpaper is a colorful map of the U.S.A. and the back endpaper presents the same map tracing the story line and the cities visited. The book is many things for young readers including lessons in U.S. geography, letter writing and sequencing. The ending leaves open the possibility of another Woodman adventure. 2005, Harcourt, Ages 5 to 8.
—Jacki Vawter, Ph.D.
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2-Another delightful offering about the famous American traveler introduced in The Journey of Oliver K. Woodman (Harcourt, 2003). Here, the wooden gentleman was heading toward the West Coast, but seems to have disappeared. Two months without a word prods his creator, Uncle Ray, and his niece, Tameka, to get help from Paige Hall, a newspaper reporter. After two more weeks without a sighting, Uncle Ray hires Imogene Poplar, private investigator, to track the fellow down. With the aid of concerned citizens, Imogene is close on Oliver's trail, but is always a bit too late to catch up with him. The travels take the pair separately through New York City; Hershey, PA; Chicago, and Sioux Falls, SD. Postcards, letters, and newspaper articles relate Imogene's experiences, while the full-spread, oil-over-acrylic paintings deftly convey the memorable events along the way. Humorous details throughout highlight the adventure, and the burgeoning romance between Uncle Ray and Paige makes an interesting subplot. Key cities and the direction of the journey are cited on the endpapers. The delightful conclusion neatly reunites the cast of characters, culminating in a most satisfying tale.-Maryann H. Owen, Racine Public Library, WI Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
That intrepid hitchhiking doll is back-and gone, as his repeat trek from South Carolina to California goes terribly awry, and Tameka enlists the help of Paige Hall, an investigative reporter, to track him down. With the help of Tameka's Uncle Ray, Paige sets a new wooden figure, Ms. Imogene Poplar, P.I., to tail him. The caper's format follows very closely in the pattern set in the first outing, featuring letters and postcards sent back and forth between Tameka and Paige, and updates from characters Imogene encounters on the road as she is borne along on Oliver's trail from Rock Hill to Alaska. (How Oliver ends up in Alaska instead of California is revealed in a sequence that unfolds on the title and copyright pages.) Cepeda's signature oils-over-acrylic illustrations fairly fizz with energy and good humor, sliding occasional glimpses of Oliver into the backgrounds as Imogene pursues him across the great American landscape. Pattison's epistolary text does yeomanly work, giving each of Imogene's helpers a distinctive character and developing a romance subplot between Paige and Uncle Ray. As with its predecessor, understatement and ambiguity are everything; Oliver's fans will happily embrace both. (Picture book. 5-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780152051846
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 3/1/2005
  • Edition description: Ages 5 to 8
  • Pages: 56
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 11.88 (w) x 9.24 (h) x 0.39 (d)

Meet the Author

DARCY PATTISON, the author of picture books and novels for young readers, teaches writing at the University of Central Arkansas, Conway. She lives in North Little Rock, Arkansas.

JOE CEPEDA is the award-winning illustrator of many popular books for children. He lives in Whittier, California.

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