Book Summary: This is the first book in The Oregon Kids series. All the books have a character value lesson. In The Big Catch, the value of being selfless and giving to others is exemplified. Billy and Autumn are brother and sister. At the beginning of the story, Billy is selfish, impatient and prideful. He sees his sister as a bother and burden. All that concerns him is fishing and catching the biggest fish. At the end, however, Billy shows compassion for his sister, Autumn. The Big Catch is meant to be read with your child. It gives parents an opportunity to discuss Billy’s character and presents a good example for teaching values of giving, being selfless, and sacrificing.
What was the inspiration for ‘The Oregon Kids: The Big Catch’?
I am passionate about fathers being involved in the life of their kids and teaching kids good values. I wanted to write a story with the Dad being a strong character who was very involved with his children. I wanted a good moral lesson to teach children. I wanted a story where parents could read it with their children and discuss the values.
How did you come up with the names for the characters?
I always loved the name Autumn ever since I met someone with that name. It is also my favorite season. My dad is William. I was single when I wrote the stories, but if I ever had kids, I wanted to name them Autumn and William (Billy).
Is ‘The Oregon Kids: The Big Catch’ based on a true story of your own experience with sibling rivalry?
Many of the events in The Oregon Kids: The Big Catch did happen in my childhood. My mom did get a bird tangled in her fishing line. My dad and I often went fishing in the morning when we went camping. It was my dad who would hook the fish for the younger children and let them reel in the catch. I never did that for my sisters. The story was not based on my own sibling rivalry but certainly based on my experiences as a child.
What books were among your childhood favorites and why?
I loved To Kill a Mocking Bird. I thought Atticus Finch was a great father figure. I loved the lesson on prejudice. I loved the Hobbit and The Lord of The Rings. They are great stories with underlying Christian themes.
What made you decide to write ‘The Oregon Kids: The Big Catch’?
I knew a single mom who had a son who was 9 and a daughter who was 6. I wanted to give her a tool to help teach her kids values and to give them a male role model albeit a fictional one. I wrote the stories for her and sent them as letters. I made the kids the ages of her children.
Did you learn anything from writing ‘The Oregon Kids: The Big Catch’ and if so, what was it?
I learned it is difficult to get a book published and even more difficult to market it. Writing is easy by comparison.
Is there a message in ‘The Oregon Kids: The Big Catch’ that you want readers to grasp?
Yes! The main lesson I want kids to learn is that it is rewarding to be selfless, sacrificing and giving. In addition, there are minor lessons such as being inpatient can cause more difficulties and delays; delayed gratification is good and feeling compassion should motivate a positive action.
In your opinion, why is ‘The Oregon Kids: The Big Catch’ a must-read?
It presents good moral lessons in a fun way that is easy for the children to understand. As one of my reviewers, Annelore Trujillo, said, “The main character is easy for children to relate to. He is even easy for adults to identify with. Almost everyone can understand what it feels like to be delayed in doing something he or she really wants to do. It is easy to see why he is so impatient. He really wants fish, but he keeps being stopped from doing so. Because Billy is so relatable, it is easier for children to understand the lesson in the story.”
Anything you would like to say to your readers and fans?
Please read with your children and discuss any moral lessons presented in the story. Books can teach powerful lessons both good and bad. By discussing the lessons, you can teach your child to think and decide to incorporate the lesson or not.
What is your favorite part of ‘The Oregon Kids: The Big Catch’? Why?
I love the ending. I’ve been moved to tears reading it because I just love the fact that Billy was sacrificing and selfless in the end. It is a lesson I desperately want to teach my children and want other children to learn. How much better would the world be if more people gave sacrificially and were motivated by compassion as Billy was?
Are you currently working on another book? If so, what is it about?
I just finished the final draft to the second book in The Oregon Kids series called Runaway Whiskers. It introduces a new character named Johanna, named after my first child. Johanna is given a pet rabbit but the rabbit runs away. Autumn finds the rabbit and must decide to return the rabbit that she really, really wants to keep.
The first draft of the sequel to the Runaway Whiskers has been written, but I plan to tweak it some. In this story, Billy wants to buy a video game and is working hard to save money. Something tragic happens to a rabbit in the story. As in the Big Catch, Billy is moved by compassion.
Tell us a little about yourself? Perhaps something not many people know?
I was single for 47 years. I just celebrated my 3rd anniversary with my wonderful Filipina wife. We have 2 children. Autumn-Marie is 6 months. Johanna is 2 years old. We don’t have a son. If we ever do have a son, he will be named William-Robert (Billy).
Even though I wrote a story about fishing, I’m not an avid fisherman. My dad is. He’s the one who knows how to find the fish and what bait or lure to use. If I fish, it is with my dad. I rely on his expertise.
What is your favorite book? Why?
I love Abba’s Child by Brennan Manning. This book presents the unconditional love of God better than any I have read. I reread it when I’m discouraged. I’ve given it away to friends to encourage them.
How do you write? Pen? Typewriter? Of, Computer?
My day job is computer programming. I use a computer. Besides I don’t spell well, so I rely heavily on the spell checker. 🙂
Bob Richley grew up in the Chicago area and now lives in beautiful Colorado. Growing up he would often go camping in the Rocky Mountains. It was these childhood camping trips and especially his visit to Crater Lake in Oregon that was the inspiration for events in the Oregon Kids series. Richley is a parent, who has volunteered for years in children’s ministry. Teaching children good values and the grace of God are his passions. His stories, originally written for a single mom to help her raise her children, are a way to fulfill this passion. Richley has always loved children, wanting all children to be raised with love and grace. It is his hope that his stories will be one of many tools that parents will use to teach and to raise their children with Godly values.