Review: Wolfie the Bunny by Ame Dyckman

wolfie the bunny

Wolfie the Bunny by Ame Dyckman, illustrated by Zachariah OHora

When the bunny family came home, they found a little bundle on their doorstep. It was a baby wolf! Mama and Papa were thrilled to take him in, but Dot knew that the wolf was going to eat them all. Still, the bunny family took Wolfie in. Dot kept an eye on him all night long, and tried again at breakfast to warn her family that they were going to be eaten. No one listened, again. Finally, Dot’s friends agreed that Dot was right and they went to play somewhere else. When she got back, Wolfie would not leave Dot alone. Days went by and Wolfie started to grow and grow. He also started to eat and eat, so Dot was sent to the store along with Wolfie. It was there that Wolfie finally showed his fangs, but it doesn’t turn out in the way that Dot was expecting!

Dyckman has created a very clever little book that shows adoption and new siblings in a fresh way. Dot is convinced from the very beginning that taking in Wolfie is a bad idea and that it will be catastrophic for her family. This feeling of doom is very much what human children feel when a new baby is announced. Wolfie goes through all of the steps of a new sibling, from getting all of the attention to being a pest. Yet through the entire book, Dyckman keeps the focus on wolves and bunnies and how it will all play out, creating a welcome added dynamic to the story.

OHora’s illustrations add to the humor on the page. Done in acrylic, the illustrations have a signature flat feeling to them that is very modern. They capture the cheerful bunny family, the worried Dot, and the adorable Wolfie. OHora also creates a dynamic neighborhood for the story to take place in that makes the entire book feel grounded and real. Or as real as a book about wolves and bunnies can be.

Clever, funny and bright, this picture book captures have a new sibling in a fresh way. Appropriate for ages 3-5.

Reviewed from library copy.

Review: Maple by Lori Nichols

maple

Maple by Lori Nichols

This is one amazing debut picture book.  Maple loved her name.  When she was a baby, her parents had planted a maple tree in their yard.  It was tiny just like her and as Maple grew so did the maple tree.  Her tree never minded if she was loud even though her parents did sometimes.  Maple loved to be outside with her tree.  She would sway along with it, pretend to be a tree and spend time gazing up into its branches and leaves.  When the tree lost its leaves in the fall, Maple gave it her coat to keep it warm.  Throughout the winter, the two played together.  Then in the spring, there were new surprises!  A new tree in the ground and a new baby in the family.  It is Maple who figures out exactly what to do to keep her new sister happy.

Clever and very satisfying, this book is an exceptional debut.  Nichols sets just the right tone with her prose.  From the very first page, you know that she understands children’s books and the way to structure and write them.  The story is clearly presented and the arc of the tale is nicely plotted and designed.  One knows that it is building towards something, but the book is willing to take the right amount of time to get there.  The book reads like a veteran author wrote it. 

The illustrations are also impressive.  They have a lovely softness to them that is very pleasing.  The colors are muted but very effective.  My favorite pages are when Maple looks up into the tree and you see her through the leaves.  It is all beautifully done.

Take it from someone who named one of her children after a tree and then planted one for him to grow up with, this book captures children, love for nature and new siblings with grace and style.  Appropriate for ages 3-5.

Reviewed from copy received from Nancy Paulsen Books.