Wolfie the Bunny by Ame Dyckman, illustrated by Zachariah O’Hora
I don’t know if I’ve ever been as in love with reading a book aloud as I am with this one.
Read alouds were always my strength as a teacher and now are one of my favorite parts of sharing books with my own child. I’m good at. I could show you a stack of teacher evaluations that praised my amazing dramatic reading skills. Give me a room of small people and I promise I can have them sitting still and relatively quietly, gazing at the pages.
But you can’t do a great read aloud without a great book. And in all of the picture books I’ve read over the years, I’ve never met characters that I’ve heard quite so clearly as I hear Dot and her well meaning, but perhaps obliviously smitten parents. There’s something magical in this small family that Dyckman has created. Stories about a new sibling have been done before, but certainly never like this, never with a small wolf arriving on the front stoop of a bunny family’s home. While Mama and Papa are immediately enamored with their new addition, Dot is quite rationally skeptical. Echoing children everywhere, she becomes increasingly exasperated as her warnings to her parents are repeatedly ignored. Trust me, if you’ve ever spoken with an actual teenager or even (as parents of young children know) a 3 or 5 year old who is going on 13, you will feel her tone in your very soul.
Dyckman’s characters are brought to life by O’Hora’s striking illustrations. The style and colors are so distinctive that my toddler ID’d the book in a bookstore display while parked outside, and still in his carseat. But O’Hora does more than just contribute notably adorable characters. He’s your ally in the read aloud game as well, providing the hand-lettered exclamations throughout the text. Even if drama doesn’t come naturally to you, you should be able to give this an admirable turn.
Age Recommendation: While my toddler adores Wolfie, I know my third grade class would have greeted the book just as warmly. Definitely a picture book that will be enjoyed by even older children.
Sex, Nudity, Dating – None.
Profanity – None.
Death, Violence and Gore – None.
Drugs, Alcohol and Smoking – None.
Frightening or Intense Things – There are concerns about animals eating other animals, but everything turns out well!