Pen the Tale, Oogie: A Review

PEN THE TALE, OOGIE, by Karen J. Moore, illustrated By Doug Hansen.

The Story: Oogie Bear is a great and wonderful storyteller, but winter is coming. What will his friends do without stories while he hibernates? Mr. Fox suggests that he write his stories down, so Oogie’s friends can read them while he naps.

And therein lies the tale.

Although author Karen J. Moore insists “PEN THE TALE, OOGIE” is about her, I know it’s about me ( isn’t everything?) and every other artist I’ve ever known,

Written as a story for children, it is relatable to most adults as well. It has a strong message for writers, illustrators and other creative people. That message is:

DON’T GIVE UP.

Of course, children are some of the most creative people on the planet. This story will help encourage them to develop their ideas and stories. It teaches them that solving problems isn’t always easy, but with determination and grit, it can be done.

Message aside, It’s  fun to watch Oogie and Mr. Fox “pacing and fretting, fretting and pacing,” as they try to solve their problem.

Oogie works hard at finding a story to write. It doesn’t work the first time, or the second, or the third, but he DOESN’T GIVE UP, and eventually the story is born.

The watercolor illustrations by Doug Hansen are expressive and informative, working expertly with the text.

On the cover, Oogie is thinking. I can see his thoughts as he stares into space, trying to come up with an idea. His hand is on head, his pencil tapping at his chin. It’s a pose all writers have experienced during a bout of writer’s block.

Perhaps my favorite illustration is the one in which Oogie, again at his desk, is concentrating with his tongue protruding from the side of his mouth. This is one of the reasons I think the book is about me. It’s my classic thinking pose.

You will enjoy all the little details: pen knife on desk for sharpening pencils; a rock as a paperweight.

Falling leaves evoke the the late fall season, almost winter, almost hibernation. Not much time left.

In the Teacher’s Resources at the end of PEN THE TALE, OOGIE you will find a Vocabulary Guide, Teacher’s Notes, and Support for Teachers Common Core State Standards.