Wolfie the Bunny
by Ame Dyckman, illus. by Zachariah O'Hora
In the world of big sisters, little brothers are the worst. As a big sister with several “little” brothers, I was quick to sympathize with Dot, the feisty bunny and older sister in Ame Dyckman’s newest picture book, “Wolfie the Bunny.” In the tradition of Kevin Henkes’ “Julius, The Baby of the World,” and Jan Ormerod’s “The Baby Swap,” this laugh-out-loud picture book explores the change in family dynamic when a new baby arrives — the parents can find no fault with their bundle of joy, while the big sis isn’t so sure what she did to deserve this terrible fate.
The Bunny family finds a bundle on their doorstep. “They peeked. They gasped. It was a baby wolf! ‘He’s adorable!’ said Mama. ‘He’s ours!’ said Papa. ‘He’s going to eat us all up!’ said Dot. But Mama and Papa were too smitten to listen.”
Wolfie clearly adores Dot but she is still not convinced. “He’s going to eat us all up!” is her refrain throughout the book. When all her friends come to visit, they are of the same mindset. Wolfie follows Dot everywhere she goes, and when he drools on her, Papa just says, “He’s a good drooler!” Wolfie (and his appetite) have grown so fast that the Bunny family has run out of carrots. Mama sends Dot and Wolfie to the grocery store, aptly named “The Carrot Patch,” to get some more carrots. At this point in the story, O’Hora illustrates Wolfie in a pink onesie that has bunny ears, and the reader will have officially fallen in love with Wolfie.
At the Carrot Patch, Wolfie opens his mouth wide and Dot says, “I knew it! On guard!” as her worst fears come true — her wolf brother is going to eat her all up! On closer inspection, Wolfie is actually growling at a big, ferocious bear. The bear picks up Wolfie, yelling “DINNER!” Instead of running away, Dot stands her ground. “Let him go!” Dot demanded. “Or...I’LL EAT YOU ALL UP!” When the bear points out the obvious — that he is a large bear, and Dot is a small bunny — Dot just says, “I’ll start on your toes!” The bear runs away in fright, and Wolfie is no longer in peril of being eaten. Wolfie pounces, but only to give Dot a big wolf-hug. In the end, it seems, little brothers really are the best.