Arts and Entertainment

Children's author Kirk Werner to sign books at Poulsbo’s Peninsula Outfitters

Washington native Kirk Werner offers kids an appreciation of fly fishing and the outdoors in his
Washington native Kirk Werner offers kids an appreciation of fly fishing and the outdoors in his 'Olive the Woolly Bugger' book series. He'll sign copies at Poulsbo's Peninsula Outfitters from noon to 2 p.m. Dec. 19.
— image credit: Courtesy photo

It’s a quick flick of the wrist, with maybe a twist, and firm placement of the thumb.

This is not a suggestion for your Wii controller.

It’s a familiar motion to author Kirk Werner. To him, fly fishing isn’t an activity.

“It’s kind of an obsession,” he said.

The Duvall, Wash.-based designer and illustrator will sign book copies and swap fish tales from noon to 2 p.m. tomorrow, Dec. 19, at Poulsbo’s Peninsula Outfitters.

Werner wasn’t casting for trout when the idea for his children’s book series struck. He was mowing the lawn.

“I’ve been a creative person my whole life, but writing was something I did for my own enjoyment. It seemed like every time I tried really hard to think of something, it just escaped me,” Werner said.

But then — call it lucky, call it divine — something happened.

“It literally just hit me upside the head,” he said of his epiphany. “I put the lawnmower away, ran inside the house and started pounding on my keyboard.”

In what he calls a handful of “frantic hours,” Werner produced the outlines of two books based around Olive, the little Woolly Bugger. (A woolly bugger is a commonly used fly fishing lure, often an olive green color.) He later wrote a third.

His books, “Olive the little Woolly Bugger,” “Olive and the Big Stream” and “Olive goes for a Wild Ride” follow Olive and her tackle box of colorful friends at Camp Tightloops. She encounters Randal the Royal Coachman, Gilbert the Gold-Ribbed Hare’s Ear and Sockeyed Jack, among a cast of others.

“There’s no better way to instill respect for the environment and love of the outdoors than to get children hooked on fly fishing,” Werner said. “One of the most important things we can do is pass along a love of our natural resources to the next generation.”

Part of the book’s proceeds will be donated to Hooked on a Cure, a fly fishing organization that raises money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. The books are published by Johnson Books, a division of Big Earth Publishing Company.

Olive’s tales are in picture-book form (illustrated by Werner). Each runs roughly 48-50 pages, and every other page bears mostly text. Werner said younger kids will enjoy being read to, while older kids, from 8-12 years old, can read them on their own.

“The stories are told completely from the point of view of the flies themselves,” said Werner. “I wanted to introduce a lot of actual fly fishing terminology and technique, but do so in a fun manner so kids don’t realize they’re being taught something.”

Werner has written two more in the series, and is in the process of illustrating them. He gets in plenty of “field research,” taking to the Yakima River for trout; the Skykomish and Snoqualmie for steelhead during winter.

Learn more about Olive’s adventures at www.olivethewoollybugger.com. Find Peninsula Outfitters at 19470 7th Ave. in Poulsbo.

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