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Wolfie the Bunny Hardcover – February 17, 2015
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From School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 1—When the Bunny family finds a little bundle of joy—that happens to be a wolf—on their doorstep, they are smitten.Well, except for little Dot, who exclaims repeatedly, "He's going to eat us all up!!" Even her friends agree, but Dot's parents are captivated by the adorable baby—he's a good eater, sleeper, and drooler, they note. As Wolfie grows, Dot's worry is compounded with annoyance as he follows her everywhere in typical little brother-style. Having to go to the store for more carrots with Wolfie (who ate them all up!) makes Dot less than pleased, and she is on guard lest he tries to eat her. The fact that Wolfie is wearing an endearing bunny outfit does not make her feel better, but it does make the bear at the market think that Wolfie would make a yummy meal. Rather than run for safety, Dot terrifies the bear with tough talk of eating him up and saves Wolfie, who thanks her by pouncing on her with a big hug. The now-bonded siblings walk home hand in hand. The text is seamlessly integrated with the illustrations and uses various fonts to good effect. OHora's acrylic paintings are the heart of this tale. They clearly show everyone's feelings from fear to sadness to joy to anger to love and everything in between, and there are brilliant bits of humor and whimsy added to the mix. VERDICT A great book for one-on-one sharing that's also sure to be a storytime hit.—Catherine Callegari, Gay-Kimball Library, Troy, NH
* "Interspecies adoption puts a fresh spin on the new-baby theme...A treat of a picture book."―The Horn Book, starred review
* "The text is seamlessly integrated with the illustrations and uses various fonts to good effect. OHora's acrylic paintings are the heart of this tale. They clearly show everyone's feelings from fear to sadness to joy to anger to love and everything in between, and there are brilliant bits of humor and whimsy added to the mix. VERDICT: A great book for one-on-one sharing that's also sure to be a storytime hit."―SLJ, starred review
* "This gets all the elements of the successful picture book just right: a familiar scenario (sibling rivalry), a scary adversary, a display of courage, and a happy ending. And then there's the art!...A crowd-pleaser for crowds big and small."―Booklist, starred review
* "Dyckman's (Tea Party Rules) rousing, warmhearted story opens as a family of city-dwelling bunnies discover a wolf cub in a basket on their front stoop. "He's going to eat us all up!" cries daughter Dot. But Papa proudly snaps pictures of Wolfie chowing down on carrots ("He's a good eater!"), and Mama's smitten, too. OHora's (Tyrannosaurus Wrecks!) distinctive folk-naif spreads poke gentle fun at hipster families--Papa and Mama are decked out in cardigans and argyle, while Dot and Wolfie shop at a food coop selling such wares as locally-sourced bamboo. More laughs come from the irresistible contrast between Dot's sweet bunny countenance and her furious glares of rage. "I knew it!" she hisses when Wolfie bares his fangs while they're shopping. But he's not baring them at Dot--he's worried about the huge bear behind her. In a gratifying showdown, Dot overpowers the bear ("Let him go!" she yells. "Or...I'll eat you all up!") while Wolfie proves he's not only trustworthy but full of love."―Publishers Weekly, starred review
"The first fresh twist on new-baby angst I've seen in years...The text is pitch-perfect, and the art is its match."―Chicago Tribune
"A sunny reversal of the wolf-in-sheep's-clothing yarn."―USA Today
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Top Customer Reviews
The story begins with a rabbit family finding a newborn wolf on their doorstep, and the parents instantl y falling for him, much to the consternation of the daughter bunny Dot. Dot seems immune to baby Wolfie's charms & is able to see him as the literal and figurative wolf-in-rabbit's-clothing. The book plays out Dot and Wolfie's relationship in a very relatable and charming way.
Was great, by the way, as an addition to the Easter basket.
Has become a favorite in the rotation of our two-year-old.
If you are a bunny and your parents find that a baby wolf has been left on their stoop, you would be well within your rights to have some qualms. But when Dot’s Mama and Papa first lay eyes on little Wolfie, all tucked tight into his little basket, it’s love at first sight. Not so Dot, who declares with refreshing candor, “HE’S GOING TO EAT US ALL UP!” Her protestations, however, fall on deaf ears. Next thing she knows, Dot has a little, toothy brother. He likes eating carrots for breakfast. He sleeps very well through the night. And he absolutely loves and adores his new big sister to the point where she can’t use the potty or color without Wolfie drooling all over her. Time passes and soon Wolfie’s a great big furry guy eating the family out of house and home. When he and Dot are dispatched to the nearby Carrot Patch Co-Op to pick up some additional grub, she is certain that this will be the moment he makes his predatorial move. However, when the chips are down and Wolfie finds himself in peril, it’s up to his big sister to swoop in and save the day.
In her Author’s Note at the back, Dyckman mentions that much of the inspiration for this book came from her daughter who, as a toddler, would occasionally “transform” into what they called a “Wolf Baby”. Yet in her story it’s Dot who’s the star of the show. For all that the book is called "Wolfie the Bunny”, Dot has the reader’s sympathies from the get go. Then, after you're Team Dot for a while, Dyckman cleverly gives us a glimpse into Wolfie's p.o.v. When Dot and her friends run off after they’ve screamed a customary “HE’S GOING TO EAT US ALL UP” we see baby Wolfie crying for the first time. It’s from that point on that Wolfie attaches himself to Dot like a saliva-producing shadow. To give the book the right sound when reading it aloud, Dyckman also adds a little gentle repetition into the text. Combating Dot’s war cry of Wolfie’s dining predilections are her father’s proud exclamations whenever Wolfie does pretty much anything at all. If Mama says he’s sleeping then Papa will note, “He’s a good sleeper”. If Dot complains about him drooling Papa says, “He’s a good drooler.” And back go your sympathies to Dot. It’s a delicate balance but Dyckman pulls it off.
And yet, for all that, you still might have difficulty seeing Wolfie as anything but a bloodthirsty bunny eater, were it not for the elegant stylings of artist Zachariah OHora. Having already cut his teeth on making 500-pound gorillas adorable (but not cute) in “No Fits, Nilson”, OHora’s thick acrylics are perfect for “Wolfie” here. He’s toothy, no question, but his eyes sport this wide-eyed innocence that’s hard to resist. Truth be told, you fall for him as thoroughly as Mama and Papa when you see him. All this is set against a limited color palette. Aside from mustard yellow, green, red, and pink, there really aren’t a lot of other colors. The thick black paints are abundant, and the colors are seemingly subdued, yet pop when required to do so.
Now generally speaking I have a problem with picture books where animals subsume their natural instincts. Books like Miss Spider's Tea Party where the whole point is not to judge someone, even if they’re a spider that should, by all rights, be eating her guests. So I should probably be upset that Wolfie has somehow gone off his natural wolf instincts. Instead, I’m charmed. This is nature vs. nurture at its finest. Sure he’s drooling on Dot, but anyone who has ever witnessed a kid in the throes of teething will understand what that’s like. On the one hand you could argue that it is cruel to dress a wolf in a bunny suit, no matter how kindly the bunnies or sweet the wolf. On the other hand, this is clearly Wolfie’s choice. You get the distinct impression that the bunny suit might even have been his idea. So what does that say about the choices our children make, even when they don’t gel with society’s expectations? No idea. I just like the image of a wolf in a bunny suit. It's funny.
It is difficult to estimate how many authors and illustrators of children’s literature live in Brooklyn, NY. General wisdom states that the borough contains the highest concentration of folks of that ilk in the country. Certainly every season we see a new crop of books that reference and work in little Brooklyn-based details and elements. The kicker is that the place exerts such a pull that even artists who have moved away can’t help but reference it. Such is the case with Zachariah OHora. As he mentions in his Artist’s Note, though he now lives in Pennsylvania, the setting of his book is his old Park Slope neighborhood. The co-op, his old co-op. And then when you look a little closer you see other Brooklynesque details. Mama and Papa, for example, are so hip it hurts. I mean just check out their collection of vintage cameras (they must have a basement full of Polaroid film). You just know they both are adept on the ukulele, brew their own beer, and go to art house films with the kids every Saturday morning. But I digress.
Who hasn’t looked at their younger brother or sister and thought at one time or another that they bore more in common with animals than people? Wolfie the Bunny isn’t really going to change their minds on that front. Nope. Instead it’s going to just strike them as amazingly funny. With its catchy refrains, stellar pictures, and original storyline, this is one of the more charming picture books out there. A great book. Personal sibling issues not required.
For ages 3-6.