Picture Book Snob
We need to talk about Wolfie
Wolfie the Bunny by Ame Dyckman and Zachariah Ohora
What's it about?
Dot's parents find a baby wolf on their doorstep and decide to adopt him, much to Dot's dismay. While her parents are besotted with the new arrival, Dot doesn't trust Wolfie. She is certain her brother is just waiting for an opportunity to eat the whole family. As Wolfie grows, so does his appetite - will carrots be enough to sustain him or are Dot's worst fears about to be realised?
What can we learn?
It's often difficult when a new sibling arrives, but before you know it, you'll be best friends. Don't judge a book by its cover (unless it's this book, because I bought it based on the cover image alone and I'm so glad I did). Though we might be different to our family members, it doesn't mean we can't get along. And beware of supermarket bears!
What makes this stand out? Wolfie the Bunny is a fresh take on the traditional "new baby" trope and is as hilarious as it is original. Dot and Wolfie are brilliant characters, and the reader finds their sympathies shifting between them both. The striking illustrations heighten the comedy and make the book stand out even more.
About those illustrations...
They are amazing! I love Zachariah Ohora's distinct, bold style. I love the thick and dynamic brushstrokes and the black outlines of varying density which give the images lots of energy and an interesting texture. I love the colour palette and the charming retro details like the Bunny family's analogue and polaroid cameras, the cars, furniture and clothing.
I love the facial expressions of all the characters, especially Wolfie's toothy and harmless-looking smile (and how it transforms into something more sinister as a silhouette). There's lots to discover, amuse readers and enrich the story in each scene. I love the supermarket sloth, how Mama Bunny has to stand on a step ladder to dress Wolfie when he gets bigger. I love Wolfie's little basket, his bunny teddy and Dot's adorable tail. There's a mysterious white rabbit peeping out of windows in a couple of pages, and I'd love to know their back story!
Why we love it...
I may have used the word 'love' more times than ever before, and far too frequently already, but I can't help it! I love everything about this book, from Wolfie's onesie, to how his adoptive parents marvel at everything he does, to Dot's reactions, and the fabulous illustrations. As soon as I saw the cover, I fell in love, and this story is every bit as entertaining and amusing as its jacket suggests. I even love how the cover is designed - the image on the back shows the front cover from behind and we see the back of Wolfie's suit for the first time.
I love how funny this book is. Its clever and unique exploration of sibling rivalry is genius. My kids and I are always in stitches when we read it, especially when Dot delivers her catchphrase, "He's going to eat us all up!" Another of Dot's remarks, "I've got my eye on you, buster!" elicits lots of laughter in this house and has become a favourite refrain of both of my children.
Why you need it...
Wolfie the Bunny is a wonderful book for when your family is expecting or has just welcomed a new baby. It's also a fantastic and fun-filled story that will be enjoyed by all children. Dot's signature warning about Wolfie's potentially nefarious intentions appears throughout the book. This adds to the appeal for young readers, who love repetition.
Older siblings will relate to Dot's frustrations at being followed around by Wolfie and her resentment of the attention he receives from their mesmerised parents. Wolfie's hero-worship of Dot and his longing to be accepted by her will resonate with younger siblings. And there's plenty to entertain the adults who will inevitably have to read it again and again!
About the author:
Ame Dyckman is the New York Times bestselling author of several acclaimed picture books. As well as writing, Ame loves to hula hoop and puts coins in people’s parking meters. She lives in New Jersey with her family, black cats, hermit crabs, fish, and her demanding-but-adorable squirrel named Willie. This is our first book by this author but definitely not the last and you can see more of Ame's work on her website.
About the illustrator:
Zachariah OHora is an award-winning and best-selling author-illustrator and you can see more of his books here. Zachariah's accolades include the Society of Illustrators Founder's Award and the Huffington Post Best Children's Book. His work has been selected as a Kirkus Best Picture Book and a New York Public Library Book for Reading and Sharing. We also have My Cousin Momo and love it too - review coming soon.
Wolfie was published in Ireland and the UK by Andersen Press in 2016 - see this book on the Andersen Press website
We're thrilled to be joining the blog tour for Zachariah Ohora's upcoming book with Caryl Hart. Watch out for our review of Sonny Says, "Mine!" on 14th April - we can't wait!