Olive the Little Woolly Bugger

Books are in my blood

I’ve been on a bit of a history kick lately as I’ve poured over old family photos from generations ago.  A few months ago I wrote about my great, great grandfather Paul Edward Werner, who founded what was at the time the largest publishing company in the world (before he lost everything and left future generations of Werners to find their own way in life). My great grandfather, Edward Paul Werner, grew up to run the family business in Akron, Ohio, and after the collapse of the Werner Printing and Lithograph empire, Ed Werner (“Pop” as he was known to family) continued to work in the printing industry.

Edward P. Werner

The collection of old family photos also included some newspaper clippings, one of which in particular I found very interesting. The article below is from the Beacon Journal, dated June 14. 1959. It announced that “Pop” was being honored as “Mr. Printer” by the Akron Club of Printing House Craftsmen. At the time my great grandfather was 83 years old and had been retired from the printing business since 1941.  He lived to the ripe old age of 96 and enjoyed a life of excellent health, right up until the end when he died peacefully in his sleep.  I had the pleasure of meeting Pop in 1967. I was a wee lad of 4-1/2 years when our family took a trip to Akron, and I remember him being a kind, fun man who was full of vitality. Of course, he was only 91 at the time so it only stands to reason!

The article points out that the Werner Printing and Lithograph Company printed state law books, catalogues and did some commercial printing.  I know for a fact that the company also printed a set of leather-bound encyclopedias because I have a few volumes, sitting in a box somewhere, slowly decaying (the price to restore them was cost-prohibitive the last time I checked). The article also mentions that in 1900:

Arthur J. Saalfield came to Akron and became manager of the company’s trade book department. Eight years later, Saalfield bought the department and moved it into a plant in South Akron, where it grew over the years into the Saalfield Publishing Company, the largest publisher of children’s books in the world.

So it would seem that the book business is in my blood. I can only hope that in another 100 years people will remember Olive the Woolly Bugger. And I’ve heard it said that an artist is never famous until after their death. Well, I hope I live as long as my great grandfather, which means I won’t be famous for another 47 years.

 

Casting Call

 

If you’ve been following this blog for any length of time, you know that I’ve been thinking about the day when Olive will be featured in her own animated movie. Naysayers may call this just a pipe dream, but luckily there have been no naysayers. And this is no pipe dream: it’s a plan. I haven’t made any critical headway on this, but I am laying the groundwork, sort of.

Putting the cart well ahead of the horse, I’ve begun to select celebrity voices to play the roles of characters from the books. Animation will be excellent, I’m sure—nothing short of other work done by Dreamworks, Pixar, etc. But it’s the voices that bring life to the characters on the big screen, so assigning voice talent is critical.

Rather than simply picking random people for the voices, I’ve decided that this very special project will require voices from people who are also passionate fly fishing folks. The movie, just like the books, are not just about fly fishing, but it is the obvious vehicle for telling the story and the messages of conservation and stewardship are important.. The good thing is that there are many qualified people to fill the roles of the characters.

Jane Seymour is emerging as a frontrunner to play the starring role of Olive. It doesn’t matter that she’s not a child—with her talents she could easily pull it off. And she strikes me as a nice person, which is absolutely necessary in order to play the main character. Ms. Seymour is a widely talented actress, from her starring role on Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman to her appearance on Dancing with the Stars. Why not add a Woolly Bugger to her resume?

Olive the Woolly Bugger?

Some of the other characters are falling into place nicely as well. For example, Wilford Brimley, Lawrence Fishburne or Tom Selleck would be excellent as Mr. Muddler Minnow. This role calls for a distinguished, authoritative voice with a hint of gruffness. At the same time, the voice of Olive’s nurturing instructor must have the ability to be softened to reflect the kindness necessary in the role of the weathered old streamer. Either of these three distinguished voices would be excellent and the role of Mr. Muddler Minnow will go to whomever rises to the take first.

This Mr. Muddler Minnow?

Or this Mr. Muddler Minnow?

Or maybe this Mr. Muddler Minnow?

If the storyline follows as I intend, Clark (the steelhead fry from Olive Goes for a Wild Ride) will have a starring role in the film. Henry Winkler instantly emerged as my first choice to play the voice of Olive’s youthful companion. Mr. Winkler is clearly a passionate fly fisherman and his recently-released book, I’ve Never Met an Idiot on the River, points to his love of the sport. He also has a passion for kids books, so I’m confident he will see value in this project. Many people my age first knew Mr. Winkler from his Happy Days role as “The Fonz”, and assuming he’s not too busy with other projects, he will be perfect as the kind-hearted companion to Olive. Maybe Clark can even adopt the signature expression, “Aaaaeeeyyy!” Or maybe not. I’ll leave that up to Henry.

 

Clark the curious steelhead fry?

I’m still working on the voice assignments for the rest of the cast, but I’ve got an impressive pool of talents to choose from, including:

Nicholas Cage, Kevin Costner, Robert Duvall, Jane Fonda, Harrison Ford, Jake Gyllenhaal, Woody Harrelson, Michael Keaton, Jimmy Kimmel, Liam Neeson, Tom Skerritt, John Travolta, Robin Williams (can’t you just imagine him as Stan the Stimulator!?) and likely others who’ve not yet been determined.

Gilbert the Gold-Ribbed Hare’s Ear, Polly the Partridge and Orange, Stan the Stimulator, Andy the Adams, Randal the Royal Coachman, Sockeyed Jack…the list goes on.

If you know of some celebrities whose voices would lend themselves well to this project, please have them contact me.  The only stipulation is that they must be avid fly angling folks, because those are the people who will bring passion to the project, just as they bring passion to the sport.

And while I’m at it, I should probably be looking for an executive producer. Mr. Redford, are you there?

Exciting news that I can’t talk about


Have you ever been really excited about something? You know, something really exciting? But you’re sworn to secrecy and you can’t say anything to anyone about it yet?

Kinda like when you’re out fishing by yourself and you land that epic fish, and you even have a photo of it, but you can’t tell anyone about the fish or even show them the photo?

Most people wouldn’t even believe you without proof. Anglers are notorious liars, so the doubt is understandable.

Well, you’re just going to have to take my word for it: something pretty cool is brewing for Olive the woolly bugger.

Believe me, when the time is right you’ll be the first to hear about it.

Olive on the Big Screen

I’ve decided that Oprah is not going to be the person to help get the word out about Olive the woolly bugger. I tried to reach out to Oprah by tagging her on Twitter posts, emailing her via Oprah.com, applying to be a recipient of a Harpo Hookup, and even following her on Facebook. I posted several blog entries, hoping to capture the attention of her internet staff. In the end, I realized that getting the attention of Oprah was just another pipe dream…a bucket list item that will remain at the bottom of the bucket.

But I have not given up hope or stopped dreaming. In fact, my new goal is to bring Olive to the Big Screen. That’s right, the motion picture industry is next on Olive’s list of things to achieve.  The fly fishing industry needs a boost, which I wrote about on my other blog. However, the suggested solution of getting Clint Eastwood to make a Dirty Harry fly fishing film was clearly riddled with tongue and cheek humor (although it did speak to the real necessity to drive new participants to the sport of fly fishing).  The fly fishing industry needs another blockbuster hit like A River Runs Through It.  All this time I’ve been sitting on the solution and wasn’t even aware of it.

I figure that with the help of a talented team of script writers, the story of Olive the Little Woolly Bugger can be fashioned into a full length, animated feature.  There is an established cast of characters and the framework for a fun story that is unique and engaging, has already been established, and even contains valuable lessons in conservation and life. And I’ve got my eye on two studios:  Dreamworks and Pixar.

 

The animation branch of Dreamworks Studios seems like a logical fit for Olive. Heck, just look at their logo: the little boy on the moon is fishing…for what? A trout, or a bass? Perhaps the next great story for a film? Is he dangling a woolly bugger at the end of his line?  Seems encouraging to me. The studio has produced no shortage of great, engaging animated films including such notables as Shrek, Madagascar, Antz, Megamind and many others. I’d like to suggest to the executives at Dreamworks that you add Olive the Little Woolly Bugger to that list.

But I have no allegiance to any one particular studio. I’m shopping Olive around.

Disney’s Pixar Studios needs no introduction. Their list of movies reads like an all-star lineup: Cars, The Incredibles, A Bug’s Life, Finding Nemo, Monsters, Inc., and of course there’s that other one–Toy Story, I think it’s called…? Pixar has proven that they can draw bugs and fish, so I see Olive the Little Woolly Bugger equally at home there.

What I learned from my dead-end attempt at getting Oprah’s attention was that I appeared too desperate in my quest for her help.  Nobody likes a needy beggar, so I’m taking a different approach this time: I’m going to sit back and wait for the call from Dreamworks or Pixar. I’m sure it won’t be long after the communications departments for either studio pick this blog post off the RSS feeds. Whomever calls me first gets the contract.  Any guesses on who it’s going to be?

Olive’s dream is alive, and I’m sitting by the phone.

All of the woolly bugger

I check webstats from time to time, and occasionally a referring link will catch my attention and I’ll follow that link to the source.  Sometimes it’s a dead end, but recently I followed a link to Fly BC and discovered that someone had posted a link to my Olive site. I got a good chuckle out of what one of the other members posted (thanks for olydagoly for posting, and to rustyr for your amusing comment):

Great books, I got three of them for my sons. Word of warning:

When you sing Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer and you get the part “All of the other reindeer” sometimes kids MAY say ” Olive the wooley bugger”… At least mine did. Funny at home, somewhat awkward in public.

That’s good stuff right there- I’ll have to remember that next year at Christmas!

Thanks to the folks in British Columbia for the good word. I hope olive you have a Happy New Year.

Olive and Oprah, Part III

Well, Oprah’s show featuring her camping trip to Yosemite aired last week, and it did include a brief segment about their fly fishing experience. From Oprah’s website:

Oprah and Gayle begin their day, and the first thing on the agenda is a lesson in fly fishing—something Oprah has always dreamed of doing. “I like the idea of putting on the boots and going out in the water and catching and releasing some fish,” Oprah says.

After watching the show, it was painfully clear that Oprah’s friend Gayle was WAY out of her element and she won’t be fishing again anytime soon.

“I’m all done with fly fishing,” Gayle says. “It’s just not for me. I like a pretty pool; I like a pretty colored drink with an umbrella sitting in it.”

To each their own. Afterall, if everyone fly fished, there wouldn’t be a lot of room along the banks of the river. Oprah, on the other hand, had a great attitude and seemed to catch on to the casting fairly well. She indicated that she enjoyed it and will be trying it again.  Conditions didn’t look favorable for catching fish, and they didn’t. But it seems that Oprah quickly grasped the meaning of “there’s more to fishing than catching fish.” In fact, she said that she wants to put together a group and take a trip.  I can imagine that there are any number of fly fishing guides and outfitters across the West that will be vying for a chance to book that trip, but my hunch is that Brian and Jenny Grossenbacher (Grossenbacher Guides) may have a lock on that since they were with Oprah on her trip to Yosemite.

Here are a couple of photos posted on Oprah’s website from their fly fishing lesson.

Strike while the iron is hot

With Oprah’s show featuring her fly fishing experience still smoldering like a nights-old campfire, the time is now to let Oprah know about my books. With that in mind I continue to send an email to her on a weekly basis, although I readily acknowledge that my odds of hearing from Oprah are miniscule. I wonder if maybe I should start my quest with something a little more reasonable?  Perhaps I should send a set of books to the Grossenbachers. Maybe they would forward them to Oprah since they’re all fishin’ buddies. I’m sure they have each others’ cell numbers.

One way or another there has to be a way for my Olive books to get into Oprah’s hands.  What she does with them after that is up to her, but I would sure love to have Olive added to Oprah’s Kid’s Reading List.  More kids need to learn about fly fishing and the great outdoors.  It’s good for kids, as I wrote about HERE. I think Oprah can see the value in that after just one camping trip and one brief fly fishing lesson.

Oprah, are you listening?  I just sent you an email. Looking forward to hearing back from you soon.

Olive and Oprah

A while ago I tried to find a way to contact the folks at the Oprah show to see about submitting Olive for consideration in Oprah’s Book Club List. I had visions of grandeur that Oprah herself would see the books, deem them awesome, have the author on her show, and give away a set of Olive the woolly bugger books to everyone in the audience. Olive would be an instant household name. Oprah has the power to make best sellers out of previously nobodies. Actually, I don’t even care about getting on Oprah’s show, but I would be tickled if my Olive books made Oprah’s Book List for Kids.

Unfortunately I never even got a reply when I submitted the contact form so I’m still a nobody. I wasn’t surprised. After all, Oprah doesn’t strike me as the type of person who would be particularly interested in fly fishing. But wait! Apparently she has actually tried casting a fly before!  Maybe there’s still hope for Olive to break through the fortress and get into Oprah’s hands.

Here is an entry on Field & Stream’s Honest Angler blog.

And Midcurrent also covered the story.

If anyone knows Oprah personally, please have her contact me. I’ll be waiting with baited breath for her call, which should come soon because this is her last season, afterall.

So many contests, so little time!

There are a couple different contests going on right now, and with so much excitement, things can get a little confusing. Let me clear things up.

Contest #1: Olive Stickers to support Casting 4 a Cure

This isn’t so much a contest, rather than a friendly competition to raise a little money for a great cause. I’m selling Olive the Woolly Bugger stickers for $3.00 each: of that, $1.50 goes directing to Casting 4 a Cure to fund research and support for the International Rett Syndrome Foundation. The other $1.50 covers the cost of printing and postage. The person who places the largest order of stickers as of October 4th 2010 will win a pair of Optic Nerve sunglasses (A $100 value). All you have to do to enter into the competition is click on over to Myflies.com and purchase a sticker. BTW, a sticker will look great on your drift boat, fishing rig, or tricycle.

October is National Rett Syndrome Awareness Month, so what a perfect time to buy an Olive sticker and contribute to such a worthy cause. Stickers will continue to be sold foe the good cause after the contest concludes.

Contest #2: Book Giveaway – 2 Free sets of Olives

I’ve created a little scavenger hunt of sorts for anyone to enter.  There is no cost, other than a few minutes of your time.  If you answer the questions correctly your name will be thrown into my lucky fishing hat. Two names will be drawn, and those lucky folks will each receive a set of three Olive fly fishing books for kids.  Contest ends September 30, 2010 so hurry! Contest rules can be found HERE.

Fly fishing rods for kids

Let me start by saying that I’m no expert teaching kids to cast a fly line. I’m always amazed that some folks seem to think that just because I’m an author of fly fishing books for kids that I know a thing or two about teaching kids how to fly fish. Remember the old adage: If you can’t do something, write about it. Or something like that ;).

That being said I wish some of the current kids’ fly rods were available when I started my own son out on his journey into fly fishing. He began by using a 9 foot 5wt graphite rod that had been relegated to backup status in my quiver rods. I was a bit hesitant to have him use this rod partially because it might’ve been a bit long for him to handle at first. But I’ll be honest:  my real hesitation lie in the fact that I was worried he’d break or otherwise trash my equipment! Fortunately my son has always had a knack for anything involving movements of the arm that resemble a throwing type motion (rocks, baseballs, etc).  He was always pretty coordinated as a youngster, and the basics of fly casting came fairly easily to him and my gear suffered no serious damage. He was 11 years old when he first went fly fishing with me, and while he could have done so earlier, I felt this was a perfect time to introduce him to the sport.  Maybe it was the perfect time for me to introduce him to the sport. He already liked fishing (catching, that is), and I felt that he had the patience to deal with the inevitable pitfalls of fly casting: line tangles.

Today’s kids have a selection of quality offerings specifically geared toward the younger angler. Something shorter than the “standard” 9 footer can make a rod more manageable in the hands of a child, and a medium action blank ensures that young casters can feel the rod loading (that is if you can get them to slow down and “feel” the rod!).  At first, my son just started to wave the stick back and forth without regard for what the rod tip, and subsequently the line, was doing. This is probably something most youngsters will do at first, but giving them a good piece of hardware that isn’t a broomstick will greatly improve their casting once they get the hang of it. If you have kids you know that they like having their own stuff, so if a fly rod to call their own makes them more excited to get out there and use it, I’d say that’s a good thing.

I’ve assembled information about several good bets for the budding young fly anglers in your lives. These are not fly rod reviews, as I have not tested any of these products. The point here is to offer a few good options for you parents to consider, and I recommend you visit your local fly shop to check out their selection of kid’s rods first. Please note than any information included here about these rods/outfits comes directly from the manufacturer’s/retailer’s websites and do not reflect the opinion of this reporter.

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REDINGTON offers two different outfits geared toward young anglers. The Minnow is targeted at kids ages 6-12, while the Crosswater Youth is aimed at pre-teen/teen anglers.

REDINGTON MINNOW OUTFIT:

Length: 8′
Line weight : 5/6
Number of sections: 2
Includes Reel:  Yes
MSRP: $99

The Minnow outfit was precisely designed and tuned to meet the needs of a younger, beginner angler. The goal is for these kids to have fun and success when fly fishing so they want to continue with the sport. The packaging design is kid and parent friendly with additional tips, techniques and games for kids to get started fly fishing.

MINNOW FEATURES:

• Updated cosmetics
• Alignment dots
• Targeted for ages 6-12
• Easy casting 2-pc 8’ 5/6 wt. graphite rod
• Tough and unfussy Crosswater reel
• Quality RIO backing, WF fly line, and knotless leader pre-spooled onto the reel
• Includes fun casting games and cut out targets in the box design
• Red rod sock included
• Each Minnow outfit includes a coupon for ordering Olive the Little Woolly Bugger, Olive and The Big Stream and Olive Goes for a Wild Ride at 50% off retail (that’s only $6.47 each)!

REDINGTON CROSSWATER YOUTH OUTFIT:

Length: 8′ 6″
Line weight : 5/6
Number of sections: 4
Includes Reel:  Yes
MSRP: $139.95

Similar to the Minnow, the Crosswater Youth Outfit was designed and tuned to meet the needs of a younger, beginner angler. However, this outfit is a little larger in size for the pre-teen/teen angler. The packaging and rod/reel case was designed to attract the teenage angler. The entire package is a legit fly angling package to a teen, but looks cool and “not like dad’s.”

CROSSWATER YOUTH FEATURES:

• Medium-fast Action
• Attractive trim details and cosmetics on outfit and packaging for younger demographic
• Alignment dots
• Versatile 4-pc 8’6” 5/6 wt. graphite rod
• Durable Crosswater reel
• Backing, RIO Mainstream WF fly line, and knotless leader pre-spooled
• Rod/Reel Case included

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ECHO GECKO

Length: 7’9″
Line weight : 4/5
Number of sections: 3
Includes Reel: No
MSRP: $99

Echo Gecko Fly Rod helps to make fly fishing easy for kids was Tim Rajeff’s goal. The Echo Gecko rods have a special diameter handle and a small 2″ long fighting butt that allows the smallest anglers to use two hands to cast. A bright yellow blank and a fun colored handle make these rods as much fun to look at as they are to cast. No longer do children have to learn to fly fish with a rod that is too long or too stiff or use a rod with a handle designed for adult hands. The rod is a great length for trout, pan fish, and bass. The rod can handle a short belly WF5 or a standard WF4 line. A great fly rod for children and kids just beginning.

GECKO FEATURES:

• Three piece travel design
• Alignment dots for quick assembly
• Wild colored EVA extra small diameter full wells handle w/small 2″ long fighting butt
• Fuji style fast-tighten reel seat
• Bright yellow gloss blank with orange thread wraps
• Hard chrome snake guides
• Rod sock and sturdy rod case
• Super durable rod design

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ROSS JOURNEY

Length: 7’6″
Line weight : 4
Number of sections: 4
Includes Reel: No
MSRP: $119

The Journey® youth series fly rod is the only fly rod designed for youth anglers, by youth anglers. Instead of taking an adult sized rod and trying to fit it into a youth sized package, we took everything we’ve learned from fishing with our own children and designed the Journey series from the ground up; arriving at what is arguably the finest youth fly rod ever built! The rod is a 4wt. design so it can be fished on most types of water, but the length is only 7’6″ so it is easy for a youth angler to control. In addition, the premium grade cork handle is crafted to perfectly fit a child’s hand and allow for comfortable casting without fatigue. This 4-piece rod series helps families to introduce their children to the sport of fly fishing with the right sized equipment, and without breaking the bank. The Journey series proprietary R-1 graphite design is a medium-fast action taper that is perfect for any casting style, and forgiving for those anglers just starting out. These are smooth casting rods that are sensitive, precise and effortless to cast; making it easier for youth anglers to learn the sport of fly fishing.

JOURNEY FEATURES:

• Ross proprietary R-1 graphite design
• Medium-fast action rod taper, perfect for youth anglers
• 4-piece design – great for travel!
• Smooth casting, sensitive and precise
• Titanium oxide, super strong guides
• Rod piece alignment dots
• Anodized aluminum reel seat
• Youth sized half wells handle
• Cordura rod case
• Available in blue, pink
• Lifetime Warranty

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ORVIS STREAMLINE KID’S FLY FISHING OUTFIT

Length: 7’9″
Line weight : 5
Number of sections: 4
Includes Reel: Yes
MSRP: $198 (on sale at the time of this writing for $159)

A fly rod and reel combo specifically designed for the junior angler. 7′ 9″ Mid-Flex rod is the perfect length and weight for smaller frames. Rod features smaller and shorter grip tailored for smaller hands. Clearwater® III Reel. 150 yards of 30 Dacron® backing. WF5 chartreuse floating line and a 9′ 2X leader. Just add a fly to this kids rod and reel combo. Ages 13 and older.

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LELAND SONOMA EMERGER PACKAGE

Length: 7’9″
Line weight : 4
Number of sections: 4
Includes Reel: Yes
MSRP: $199

Offered in blue and pink. This outfit will have your little one throwing darts and dreaming of fly fishing adventures! Trust us, you’ve never seen a youth rod and reel like this.

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L.L. BEAN ANGLER FLY ROD OUTFIT

Length: 7′, 8′, 8’6″, 9′
Line weight : 5 and 6
Number of sections: 2
Includes Reel: Yes
MSRP: $80

At L.L. Bean, we’ve always been committed to introducing newcomers to the sport of fly fishing – in the easiest and most affordable way possible. Our Angler Fly Rod Outfit comes loaded with backing, a floating line and a leader – just tie on a fly, and in minutes you’re ready to fish. We worked closely with both beginning fly casters and our Fly-Fishing School instructors to develop a smooth medium-action rod that makes it easy for anyone to learn the graceful art of fly casting. A quality composite reel with a click and pawl drag and high-quality graphite ensure that you, your kids and your grandkids can learn from the same outfit. Includes handy rod carrying tube for storage and transport. Imported.

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SCIENTIFIC ANGLERS TROUT FLY FISHING STARTER KIT

Length: No information available
Line weight : 5/6
Number of sections: 4
Includes Reel: Yes
MSRP: $95

This Trout Fly Fishing Outfit includes a high quality 4-piece 5/6 weight graphite rod for smooth and easy casting. Preloaded disc drag reel ready to fish with the specific line and flies designed to work well for panfish.  Also includes a special 2 in 1 DVD with “Fly Fishing Made Easy” and “Panfish and Bass with Larry Dahlberg.”

Included in this kit:

• 4-piece, 5/6 weight graphite rod
• Lightweight for smooth and easy casting
• Pre-Loaded Scientific Anglers Concept 2 Fly Reel Loaded with backing, Scientific Anglers fly line and leader, and is ready to use
• Fly Box with Flies
• 2-in-1 Instructional DVD (the contents of both of the DVD titles below are included on a single special-issue DVD)

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Based on these offerings from reputable manufacturers, young anglers don’t have to fish with junk equipment that’s little more than a colorful toy, and parents don’t have to break the bank to get quality gear for their kids.  Kids are the future of the sport, so get them away from their video games, get them a rod they’ll be thrilled to call their own, tie on a woolly bugger, and take ’em fishing! You’ll be glad you did, and so will they.

Check out the comprehensive listing of kids fly fishing gear at Take Kids Fly Fishing. In addition to rods and reel outfits, the site lists waders and boots, vests, hats and clothing, books and DVDs as well as fly fishing camps and clinics for kids and kid-friendly fly fishing guides. It’s a tremendous resource!

Olive is about more than just fly fishing.

You can’t judge a book by its cover. Now there’s an expression we’ve all heard before, and we all know that it has a dual meaning that goes beyond the literal translation. In the case of a certain series of childrens fly fishing books, the average person may not need to look beyond the cover to find the books worthy of purchase for the kids in their lives.  Afterall, if you like fly fishing, you likely want to share that passion with your children. But what if you’re a discerning parent looking for more than just a book about fly fishing – a book with some substance?  Or perhaps you’re not an angler yourself and the thought of a book about fly fishing has no interest to you and therefore no interest to your child? You really can’t know what truly lies beneath the surface without having read the book.

A childrens book has to be about something – there has to be some substance/message or no publisher worth their salt would choose to acquire the title.  So what is Olive all about?  Simply looking at the titles of the books, that answer may seem obvious: they’re books about fly fishing, right? True, and if that weren’t obvious then I would have failed miserably! Olive the Little Woolly Bugger, Olive and The Big Stream, and Olive Goes for a Wild Ride are books clearly having something to do with fly fishing.  But open the cover and read the stories within and you’ll find that just as there’s more to fishing than catching fish, there’s more to Olive than just fly fishing.

In Olive the Little Woolly Bugger, our central character goes off to Camp Tightloops to learn to become a fishing fly.  There she learns the basics of fly casting and presentation and the need for barbless hooks. She also learns basic fly fishing terminology and how different flies are used in different situations. Pretty straightforward fly fishing stuff.  But she also learns about perseverance and unfortunately what it’s like to be an outcast: life lessons that go beyond the river bank or lake shore.

Through her adventure in the next book, Olive and The Big Stream, Olive puts what she has learned to the test and goes fishing for the very first time.  She obviously learns of the importance of catch and release fishing as she successfully hooks and lands her first wild trout, but again, there’s more.  She has learned compassion and the need to accept others who may be different, and when her friends fail on their first attempts at fishing she knows better than to tease and taunt. She knows firsthand what it’s like to be the recipient of such harmful behavior, and displays kindness to all others. She also learns to respect the very thing that makes fishing what it is: fish.

In the third book, Olive Goes for a Wild Ride, Olive becomes separated from her friends and faces the fears that all kids would should they become lost.  She soon hooks up with a stranger who befriends her and the two set off on a wild adventure where Olive, who up to this point has always been the student, becomes the teacher.  Together she and her friend explore a wild river and learn about each other and all that is important in the great circle of life.

The obvious point of the books is to introduce younger children to fly fishing – to plant a seed of interest in hopes of getting kids outside and participating in a wonderful experience.  Who knows, if Olive is a child’s introduction into the world of fly fishing, maybe they’ll become future stewards of our resources. Along the way hopefully they’ll learn to be accepting of others who are different from themselves.  Compassion goes a long way in creating people of strong character. To that end we can all learn from Olive.

So yes, Olive is all about fly fishing.  But she is about so much more as well.

And just as Olive is about more than just fly fishing, profit from sales of the books is about much more than just making a few bucks.  A percentage of proceeds from the sale of all books is donated to two groups that use fly fishing as a means of raising money to help fund research for childhood diseases:

Hooked On a Cure, hosts an annual fly fishing event to raise money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Casting 4 A Cure, uses fly fishing events to raise money for the International Rett Syndrome Foundation to help fund research for Rett Syndrome and support for families dealing with special needs kids.

Both groups are led by fabulous, compassionate people that happen to love fly fishing. When I learned of these groups it became obvious that Olive needed to do what she could to help. What better than a series of books for kids about fly fishing, helping groups of people who use fly fishing to help kids?

So if you’re heard of the Olive series of fly fishing books for kids, consider taking a closer look. If you’ve never heard of them until now, I also ask that you look beneath the surface to see what the books have to offer.

You truly cannot accurately judge a book by the cover, and exploring beneath the surface may yield some pleasant surprises.  Fishing dries on the surface is fun, but an astute angler knows that fish take the majority of their meals under water.  Exploring the depths is what makes the woolly bugger such an effective and popular pattern.  Take a closer look- I think you’ll get hooked on Olive the Woolly Bugger, and by doing so you’ll be helping kids in more ways than one.