Movie-Goers know him as the inspiration for the lead role in Dead Poets' Society (as played by Robin Williams), but thousands of devoted readers also know Sam Pickering for the wit, keen insight, and lively prose style exhibited here in seven previous volumes of familiar essays. In the title piece, Pickering is the Blue Caterpillar, a role he is asked to play in his daughter's elementary school production of Alice in Wonderland, a role which strikes Pickering - and will strike his readers - as wonderfully appropriate. Funny and moving, these essays seem born of the murky inkling a caterpillar must have that things are changing, and it is to the changes, especially the small ones, that Pickering attends. Language changes, ideas of family change, Republicans change, the South changes. In "There Have Been Changes", Pickering remarks that "domestic change is cyclical and wifely". In other essays his two sons suddenly seem distant, and his daughter acquires a new talent at summer camp: "becoming the best mooner in the cabin". Pets - tadpoles and salamanders, dogs, hamsters, kittens, and a baby squirrel - join and take their leave of the Pickering household. In "Down" his wife decides (very much against his wishes) to pierce her ears. Fifteen hundred miles away, an uncle grows old and needs care-taking. Pickering himself grows older. And of course, the seasons change.