June 22, 2017

Horrible Bear written by Ame Dyckman, illustrated by Zachariah OHora

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , at 1:31 am by suebe2

Horrible Bear!
written by Ame Dyckman
illustrated by Zachariah OHora
Little, Brown and Company

When a little girl’s kite string breaks, her kite floats into a cave and lands on the belly of a sleeping bear.  Unfortunately, the bear rolls over and CRUNCH goes the kite. The girl is furious and she isn’t about to let him sleep through this disaster. “Horrible Bear!” The girl stomps down the mountain, across a meadow and all the way home.

As bear finally comes fully awake, he realizes how angry he is.  After all, he isn’t horrible.  It was an accident!   Bear practices being loud and obnoxious and when he has perfected his technique, he sets off to find the girl.

In the meantime, she’s still in an awful mood and storming around her own room.  Let’s just say that she realizes just a little too late how easily an accident can happen.

I’m not going to talk about the plot anymore because I don’t want to give it away but this is a great book for toddlers and preschoolers and anyone who is still working to master their temper.  Not that it is a prolonged tantrum.  There’s plenty in here to love with the girl apologizing and bear helping to cheer her up.

In fact a full range of emotions are depicted.  Thus it would be a great book to use in the classroom or at home to launch a discussion on kind words vs cruel words, as well as emotions and even oop-sidents, what my son always called those uh-oh moments when you OOPS break something.

This nuanced and layered story is complemented by OHora’s paintings which are painted in acrylic. The bright bold images offer another way to draw readers into the story but have art supplies ready so that you can challenge your young book lovers to create characters of their own showing an equally wide array of emotions.


March 23, 2015

Wolfie the Bunny by Ame Dyckman, illustrated by Zachariah OHora

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , , at 1:23 am by suebe2

Wolfie the Bunny
by Ame Dyckman
illustrated by Zachariah OHora
Little, Brown and Company

When the Bunny family finds a baby wolf bundled up at their front door, Mama and Papa can barely contain their excitement.  They swoop him up and take him inside.  But not Dot.

“He’s going to eat us all up!” said Dot.

I can’t relate a whole lot about the book without giving too much away and I really do want you to discover this one for yourself.  It is a sweet, fun story about siblings.  Dot is absolutely certain that bringing Wolfie into the family is the worst mistake ever.  There’s no doubt in her mind, he will be the death of them all.

The very best picture books have surprise endings and this one is no different.  Danger presents itself but the resolution is surprising and fun.

This book wasn’t an easy sell for me.  I hadn’t seen much about the book itself, just the book cover here and there.  The cover alone just didn’t grab me.  Wolf, bunny costume . . . whatever.

But then I read an interview with Ame Dyckman.  She discussed not only what prompted her to write the story but also what pulled it altogether.  I love books that make use of a chorus (He’s going to eat us all up!) so I put in a request at my library and I’m glad I did.

Dot has so much personality.  She’s a bunny of strong opinions and doesnt’ mind sharing them with those around her.

The art work is acrylic but it reminds me of scratchboard.  Although the cover didn’t grab me, I loved the spreads and how OHora brought fairly tale motifs into the story. When you read the book, note Dot’s red jacket and her co-op shopping bag.  This is a clear play on Red Riding Hood.  But what part will Wolfie play?

This would make a fun story time book but be prepared for shouts of “He’s going to eat us all up!”  Face it, the effect just isn’t the same if you don’t shout it.


December 2, 2013

No Fits, Nilson! by Zachariah OHora

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , at 7:56 pm by suebe2

No Fits, Nilson!
written and illustrated by Zachariah OHora
Dial Books

I wasn’t sure what to expect from No Fits, Nilson! but as someone who has lived with a strong-willed child (understatement of the century), the book intrigued me because it was inspired by the author’s son and his volcanic tantrums.

In the fictional story, the narrator is a little girl named Amanda.  Everywhere she goes, she brings her friend, an enormous, blue gorilla named Nilson.  Well, except for the bathtub.  Nilson apparently does not like water and watches from a perch nearby.

Together they play, eat breakfast and help with the grocery shopping.  As sometimes happens, a scooter will bump a block tower and knock things over.  When Nilson throws a fit, both he and Amanda end up in time out.

I wondered about that list part a little.  Why was Amanda also in time out?  Stick with the story and it all becomes clear on the last page.  Nilson is Amanda’s stuffed animal friend.  He has been getting credit for someone else’s fits of temper.

This really is a cute book about temper tantrums.  Young readers will learn about self-control, coping mechanisms and consequences.  The best part is that this all comes through the story itself so it doesn’t sound like a lecture.  Instead, it is simply part of Amanda and Nilson’s day.  Yet, the book isn’t unrealistic.  There’s a melt down in the morning.  Thing go pretty well for a while.  Then they totter on the very edge of a meltdown toward the end of the story.  Things haven’t just cleared up.  Like any habit, dealing with this is a work-in-progress.

The acrylic paintings that illustrate the book are cartoony and fun, taking away some of the fear in having to endure someone else’s tantrum.

In spite of the more-or-less make believe friend, this is a very realistic story in that self control is praised but no one says it will be easy to achieve.


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