If I had to list one of my new favorite illustrators it would be Christopher Denise. This is somewhat surprising to me since I tend to like darker images and his work just brims with cuteness. I was introduced to him by Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast and since then have been searching out all of his work. Last week I took out Oliver Finds His Way, written by Phyllis Root and illustrated by Christopher Denise.
The story is simple. It follows Oliver, a little bear, who chases a yellow leaf and ends up getting lost in the forest. He cries for a bit and then realizes that it won't get him anywhere. So he decides to roar. He roars loudly and from back at home he hears Mom and Dad roaring back. He follows the sound all the way home to "tumble-down hugs" and safety. A cute story but Denise's illustrations make this book one of the most adorable I have ever seen. Oliver shows emotion on every page and each one of them is unbearably (hehe) cute. Even the spread of him crying is cute enough that I wanted to frame it. The story is set in the Northeast in the fall so each page is filled with color. The trees practically burst off the page with reds, yellows, and browns. But those are all overshadowed by a small bear who is just one of the most adorable things I have ever seen.
This book is perfect for younger readers because of its story of lost and found. And Oliver seems so lovable that you can't help but want to protect him. This book has a wonderful story but the illustrations are what will make me purchase this book. A tiny incredibly adorable bear in a beautiful Fall woods. Perfect.