The New Kid Has Fleas: A Picture Book Review

The New Kid Has Fleas by Ame Dyckman, illustrated by Eda KabanNo one is sure about the new kid. She is quiet with curly red hair. But that’s not the weird part. There’s something distinctly canine in her shadow. She doesn’t wear shoes. She might even have fleas.

When he’s paired with the new kid for a project, one boy doesn’t know what to expect. But as they work together he realizes that even though she’s a little different, some things like caring parents and afterschool snacks, remain the same in The New Kid Has Fleas (2021) by Ame Dyckman, illustrated by Eda Kaban.

Find it on Bookshop.

Dyckman’s text is brief and to the point as our non-new kid narrator expresses concerns about the new kid. Kaban’s digitally painted, cartoon style illustrations tease out the subtext of the story as the new kid is seen with a distinctly wolf-like shadow among other oddities in class. Our narrator and the new kid are presented as white (or at least light skinned) with varied skintones among the rest of the class.

When mean girl Molly starts a rumor that the new kid has fleas, our narrator is very worried about working together on a project–perhaps fairly when he finds out the new kid has literally been raised by wolves. But despite their (big) differences the new kid’s parents are doting and conscientious. Things like after school snacks are different (roasted squirrel anyone) but still good.

Molly’s rumor backfires when she’s the one who ends up out of school with lice. Whether she has learned her lesson or refuses to see the error of her ways is left to readers’ imaginations and not addressed in the story. While our narrator isn’t sure about a lot of other things at the end of the story he is sure that Kiki is no longer the new kid–she’s just a new friend.

The New Kid Has Fleas has a lot of interplay between what’s shown in the pictures and what is being said in the text which makes this a good one to read through a couple of times. This text vs. subtext dynamic will make it fun for one-on-one readings or with smaller groups–Kaban’s detailed illustrations may not translate as well to a larger setting if the images are not clearly visible to all readers.

Kids literally raised by wolves are always a favorite in the picture book scene and this one is a fun addition to that niche genre. The New Kids Has Fleas is also ideal for anyone looking for stories about making friends, embracing differences, or going to school.

*An advance copy of this title was provided by the publisher for review consideration*

Wolfie the Bunny: A Picture Book Review

Wolfie the Bunny by Ame Dyckman and Zachariah OHoraWhen a baby wolf is left on the doorstep of the Bunny family, Dot has some serious concerns. Much to Dot’s dismay she is alone in her fears as Mama and Papa soon adopt the abandoned wolf. Dot remains worried about Wolfie as he grows and becomes much more likely to eat them all up. Worse, Wolfie really loves Dot–so much so that he spends all of his time following Dot around and even drooling on her!

Dot is certain Wolfie could not be more annoying until she and Wolfie go to the local co-op The Carrot Patch to get more food for the family. Dot is sure this moment will be when Wolfie chooses to make his move and eat her. Instead, when a mean (big) bear shows up, it’s Wolfie who is in peril. And Dot who is left to do the rescuing in Wolfie the Bunny (2015) by Ame Dyckman and Zachariah OHora.

Ame Dyckman returns with another delightful story in this picture book about a wolf in rabbit’s clothing. Wolfie the Bunny is a riotous story that leaves readers wondering if Dot’s fears really are warranted until the last moment when readers (and Dot) realize that being family means being there for each other no matter what.

OHora brings an extra dimension to the story as he moves Wolfie and company from what could have been a natural setting into the wilds of Brooklyn. His signature style and bold colors in each acrylic painting guarantee that these illustrations will stand up to close scrutiny as well as being viewed from a distance.

Bold text and a variety of font faces work to add further interest to each page as each page spread comes together seamlessly to create an engrossing read.

Wolfie the Bunny is a story about new babies, sibling rivalry and unconditional love (and maybe carrots) that is brimming over with humor and enthusiastic energy. Ideal for any story time scenario.

You can also read my interview with Ame and Zachariah!

Author and Illustrator Interview: Ame Dyckman and Zachariah OHora on Wolfie the Bunny

Ame Dyckman author photoWolfie the Bunny is the delightful story of a baby wolf in bunny’s clothing and the way unconditional love for siblings can sometimes sneak up on a person (or a bunny in this case). Today write Ame Dyckman and illustrator Zachariah OHora are here to talk about the creative process behind this great picture book.

Scroll to the bottom for details about a very special Wolfie the Bunny giveaway too!

Miss Print: What was the inspiration for Wolfie the Bunny?

Ame Dyckman: WOLFIE was inspired by my daughter (“The Kid” of my Twitter stories), who was an ADORABLE toddler—EXCEPT when she was tired. Then she transformed into a tiny growling beast Husband Guy and I called The Wolf Baby. (We said it QUIETLY. So she wouldn’t hear and destroy us.) And that made me ask myself, “What if a REAL wolf baby went to live with a family of non-wolves? And what kind of non-wolves family would be funniest?” I’d always wanted to write a wolf-and-bunny story, and knew then this was the one.

Miss Print: The illustrations for Wolfie the Bunny could have gone in several directions. You chose to set Wolfie and his family in Brooklyn. What inspired that decision?

Zachariah OHora (ZO): At the same time I was sketching out Wolfie the Bunny, I was working on my next book “My Cousin Momo” (Dial, out June 2, 2015) that takes place in a very woodsy atmosphere. I wanted to do something that was the opposite of that. I also feel like far too many picture books have a suburban backdrop. When I realized that “The Carrot Patch” even sounds like a health food store, it all clicked when I thought about the Park Slope Co-op in my old neighborhood. And to be truthful, I like painting city scenes!

Miss Print: Ame, was there any part of Wolfie the Bunny that you were particularly excited to see once illustrated?

Ame: ALL OF IT! I was over-the-moon to see EVERYTHING–Zach’s first character sketches to the final endpapers and each bit in between! But my favorite spread is Wolfie’s first night with his new Bunny family, for the lines:

Wolfie slept through the night.
Dot did not.

Zach’s art for this spread is GENIUS! The humor, the sweet contented expression on Wolfie’s face, Dot’s oh-so-genuine kid perception of shadows being scarier than reality–this spread is SO much fun, SO well-done, and has sparked SO many great discussions from readers little to big!

WOLFIE SLEPT THROUGH THE NIGHTMiss Print: Zachariah, what was your favorite scene to illustrate in this book?

Zachariah: Ame’s text is so funny there are many parts of  the story I couldn’t wait to illustrate. One of the most fun was actually a last minute addition, and that was the spread where Dot and Wolfie are heading to the Carrot Patch and are greeted by the friendly but slow proprietor. And when I say slow, I mean, he’s a sloth. We’ve joked that if there was ever a sequel the sloth would still be sweeping and he would just be at the other end of the page.

MP: Can you both tell us what your creative process looked like for this book?

Ame: It was LONG-TERM percolation! I’d carried my wolf-adopted-by-bunnies idea around in my little pea brain for two whole years before I finally heard Dot Bunny say, “HE’S GOING TO EAT US ALL UP!” She piped up during a Mandatory Family Housecleaning Day when I was carrying a mountain of laundry upstairs. I told The Horde (Husband Guy, The Kid, and The Cat) I was folding towels. But really, I was typing. The first draft of what was then called WOLFIE AND DOT was finished an hour and a half later. The Horde was a bit grumpy I’d ditched on my part of our chores–until I read WOLFIE to them. They agreed they couldn’t have ignored Dot, either. She’s one PERSISTENT bunny!

Zachariah: First it was dialing in what Wolfie was going to look like. I draw lots of bunnies so I pretty much knew what Dot would look like. I put her in a red hoodie as a nod that this story was kind of an inverted/modern take on Little Red Riding Hood. Or at least it seemed that way to me. Initially I wanted to really exaggerate how toothy and wolf-like Wolfie was to further the joke that the parents were clueless. But he was a little too scary and maybe a little gangster. Bethany Strout (the editor) and Saho Fujii (the designer) were very good about reeling me in. Somewhere along the way I had the idea that if Wolfie was scary looking, he could be softened by the ridiculous act of putting him in bunny jammies. That helped but it was still overkill so I worked on a younger, cuter version of Wolfie which became the model for both the baby and toddler (but much bigger) version in the book. All the art is acrylic paint on paper.

Miss Print: Can you tell us anything about your next project?

Ame: I get to work with Zachariah OHora again! HORRIBLE BEAR!, our funny name-calling tale of accidents, tantrums, and apologies comes out next Spring from our fabulous WOLFIE THE BUNNY team at Little, Brown! I’m SO EXCITED for everybody to see Zach’s hysterical HORRIBLE BEAR! art! If you thought Dot Bunny’s scowl was a riot, you’ll adore his little redheaded girl shouting at poor befuddled Bear!

Zachariah: I’m finishing up a second book that Ame wrote called “Horrible Bear!” and it’s a fun and funny story too. I’m hoping that it’s one of many that we work on together! I’m also working on a book that takes place in my childhood library way up in Manchester, NH. It’s got monsters, waffles and a boy who has a brother that is also a bear.

MP: Do you have any advice to offer aspiring authors or illustrators?

Ame: Read as many books in your genre as you can, connect with your local SCBWI chapter (or come to Jersey! We adopt!) if you write kidlit, reward every little success with ice cream, get yourself a good Writing/Illustrating Buddy (quit grinnin’, Adam!) and DON’T EVER GIVE UP! (Or I’ll sic a persistent bunny on ya!) GOOD LUCK, EVERYBODY!

Zachariah: Do what you love. I’ve always loved kids books and drawing little cute animals, but it was years into my illustrating career before I let myself make that stuff for clients. But when I did, my career became a career. If you don’t love what you are doing, it’s not real and it’s not going to be good.

Get out in the world and research things. Experience things. The internet is great for reference but getting out in the world is far more inspiring and it’s there you will find your voice.

Thank you to Ame and Zach for this great interview!

You can also read my review of Wolfie the Bunny here on the blog.

You can find out more about Ame and her books here:

You can find out more about Zachariah and his books here:


Thanks to Ame I am giving away a signed copy of Wolfie the Bunny and a swag bag complete with bookmark, sticker, button, and squishy carrot.

Giveaway is open to any readers over the age of 13. US only.

Giveaway will run from midnight May 18, 2015 through May 22. Winner will be notified May 23. If I don’t hear back from the winner by May 24 I will pick a new winner from the entry pool.


I’m running the giveaway through a Rafflecopter giveaway. Details on how to enter can be found by clicking “enter” above!

Author Interview (#2): Ame Dyckman on Tea Party Rules

Ame Dyckman author photoAme Dyckman returns to the blog today to talk about her Ezra Jack Keats award winning sophomore picture book: Tea Party Rules.

Miss Print (MP): How did you come up with the idea for Tea Party Rules?

Ame Dyckman (AD): I’ve adored tea parties since I was very little, when I first heard of… ya know, that particularly mad one. I was (and am!) crazy about Michael Bond’s Paddington, which taught me a little bear could drop into my life at any moment. And I really, really love cookies. I think all these things rolled about in my brain for a bit, finally bumped into each other, and said, “Hey! Let’s write a story together!”

MP: Who came first in this story? The girl or the bear?

AD: Cub came first. If there were no one to desire the cookies, it wouldn’t matter if there were no cookies, right? (I think I read this in philosophy class. Or in a fortune cookie.)

MP: Which part of Tea Party Rules was your favorite to write? Which was the hardest?

AD: My favorite part to write was Cub’s interaction with the teddy bear he usurps at the girl’s backyard tea party. It was the hardest part to write, too. How much did Cub understand about his new acquaintance? What would his reaction be? And most importantly (always!), would kids get it/love it/laugh? My Super Agent (Scott Treimel) and genius Viking editor (Leila Sales) were a huge help with this.

MP: Was there a particular part that you were particularly excited to see illustrated?

AD: I couldn’t wait to see Cub dressed up and miserable in the girl’s tea party finery. (Sorry, Cub! Way to take one for the team!) Illustrator Extraordinaire K.G. Campbell captured this scene perfectly. I still laugh out loud every time I see it, and it’s a riot at book signings! The kids crack up when I crack up!

MP: Would you consider yourself more like Bear or more like the little girl?

AD: I used to be more like the little girl, especially when it came to the way I thought something should play out. I’d get an idea in my head, and be terribly disappointed when the reality wasn’t as fun as I imagined it to be. But lately, I think I’m more like Cub, willing to roll with things more—at least until I hit my breaking point. (Like when I see cookies I can’t have.)

MP: Ending with a hard-hitting question: What is your favorite kind of cookie? What would you want served at a tea party?

AD: I have an absolutely-can’t-resist-zero-willpower weakness for Oreos. (The scene where Cub gobbles the cookies? I think someone slipped K.G. footage of me with a package of Oreos!) But for a tea party, you can’t go wrong with chocolate chip cookies, especially homemade ones. They’re bliss-inducing and fantastic for sharing down to the last cookie—so long as each half has roughly the same number of chips!

MP: Can you tell us anything about your next project?

AD: My next book, Wolfie the Bunny, hops into bookstores everywhere on February 17th. It’s the funny sibling story of a baby wolf adopted by a family of rabbits. Mama and Papa are thrilled with the new addition to the family, but daughter Dot is certain, “He’s going to eat us all up!” It’s adorably illustrated by the amazing Zachariah OHora. I’m over-the-moon to work with him and the fabulous folks at LB Kids, and can’t wait for everyone to meet Wolfie and the fam!

Thanks again to Ame Dyckman for taking the time to answer my questions. You can find more information about her books on her website.

If you want to read more about Tea Party Rules check out my review!

Tea Party Rules: A Picture Book Review

Tea Party Rules by Ame Dyckman, illustrated by K. G. CampbellCub follows his nose through the woods all the way to a backyard party–with cookies! But this isn’t any party. It’s a tea party. A fancy one. And the little girl hosting the party has some very specific rules about how tea parties should go. Cub is willing to go through a lot for cookies. But how much can one bear take? And will the little girl realize a friend is just as important as a properly executed tea party?

Tea Party Rules (2013) by Ame Dyckman, illustrated by K. G. Campbell is a delightfully fun read about how sometimes breaking the rules can be just as important as following them. Both Dyckman and Campbell received the 2014 Ezra Jack Keats New Author and Illustrator Award for this title.

In her sophomore picture book, Dyckman once again uses sparse, well-chosen text to tell a whimsical story of two unlikely friends. Campbell’s detail-packed illustrations bring Cub and the little girl to life with vibrant colors.

You can also check out my interview with Ame Dyckman about this great book.

Book Giveaway: Boy + Bot[CLOSED]

In addition to awesomely answering my questions during our interview (not to mention writing a super fun picture book!) Ame Dyckman very graciously offered to provide a signed copy of Boy + Bot for me to giveaway on the blog along with some cool Boy + Bot swag (swag translates to a super cool Boy + Bot bracelet, sticker, bookmark and mini frisbee!).

If you can’t tell, I’m a big fan of this one so trust me when I say you really want to enter this giveaway.

The giveaway will run until September 2, 2012 so you have a week to enter! (This giveaway is open to the US only.)

TO ENTER: Leave a comment below stating why you want to win (with a valid email in the email form field)

Author Interview: Ame Dyckman on Boy + Bot

Ame Dyckman author photoEarlier this year I was lucky enough to see Ame Dyckman and Dan Yaccarino at an event featuring their picture book BOY + BOT (which Ame wrote and Dan illustrated). At the event I was enchanted by Ame’s excitement and enthusiasm (which was totally contagious btw) and intrigued by the story of a boy and a robot who become friends. Since then, I’ve read BOY + BOT at quite a few storytimes (always with great success) and started wondering what writing a picture book is really like (and how Ame picks such great colors for her hair! Not to mention hairbows!) Ame is here today to answer some questions about several of those things!

Miss Print (MP): Can you tell us a bit about your path as a writer? How did you get to this point?

Ame Dyckman (AD): I tried a bunch of other occupations first.  (I was even a costumed character!  It’s sweaty.)  But I always wanted to write children’s books.  Four years ago, I decided to go for it!  I went to the library and read mountains of picture books.  I joined the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) and went to lots of events.  And at the 2009 NJ SCBWI Annual Conference, I signed up for the Agent Pitch Session.  (That’s where you have 5 minutes to tell an agent about your manuscript and not get nervous and throw up.)  I met Super Agent Scott Treimel of S©ott Treimel NY.  I told him about BOY + BOT.  (And I did not throw up.)  Scott loved my story, I adored Scott (and still do!), we shook on it, and in a very short time, we had an offer from editor Michele Burke at Knopf!

MP: How did you come up with the idea for BOY + BOT?

AD: I’ve always loved friendship-despite-difference stories like FROG AND TOAD and GEORGE AND MARTHA.  And I’ve always loved robots—the Tin Man, R2D2 and C3PO, Voltron, etc.  When I sat down to write my own unusual friendship story, “with a ROBOT!” kept jumping into my head.

MP: You’re the first picture book author to be interviewed at Miss Print *throws confetti* As such, can you tell us about what your writing process for a picture book looks like?

AD:*throws spaghetti because we’re out of confetti*  Thanks!  I’m honored!  When I write a picture book, it always starts the same way:  I get one funny image in my mind, like a still from a cartoon.  (For BOY + BOT, this was the “But as they rolled down the hill, a rock bumped the robot’s power switch…” scene.)  Then I build the rest of the story.  I like to write in the morning, print out what I’ve written, put it in my pocket, and carry it around with me for the rest of the day.  Then whenever I get a revision idea, I can change it right away.  (And I’m getting much better about remembering to collect all my drafts before I start the laundry!)

MP: As a picture book author, you wrote the text for Boy + Bot. The book was then illustrated by Dan Yaccarino. When writing a picture book do you take the eventual illustrations into account with how you organize the text? What is it like collaborating with an illustrator to tell your story?

AD: I definitely think of the illustrations.  The picture book text is just 50% of the story—the pictures are the other 50%.  So when I write, I strive to leave that space for the illustrator to do their thing and have fun, too.  For example, in BOY + BOT, the lines “They played.  They had fun.” were purposely left open so that the illustrator could show their idea of what Boy and Bot played and how they had fun.  And wow, what an illustrator I got!  You should have seen me running happy laps around the room when I found out I got Dan!

MP: One of my favorite things in Boy + Bot is the sense of symmetry as Boy tries to cure Bot and later when Bot tries to fix Boy’s malfunction. How long did it take you to find the right structure and word choices for this story?

AD: That took a few months!  And the tweaking and polishing took several more!  All in all, it was about 14 months from the time I had my initial idea of Boy and Bot playing to the completion of the draft that I showed to Scott.  (That’s the gestation period of a camel!  Completely irrelevant, but interesting.)  I’ve been a little speedier with my subsequent manuscripts, though!

MP: Do you have any favorite children’s books/picture books that inspired you to become a children’s author?

AD: I was most inspired by WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE.  It’s my favorite book.  I read it aloud when I do library visits, and watching kids hear it for the first time and love it too is magic!

MP: Time for a really serious question: You dye your hair a lot of fun colors. What’s your favorite color to have your hair? Is it the same as your favorite color in general?

AD: My favorite hair color is the blue I have now.  It makes it easy to find me in a crowd, and it makes kids laugh!  I like black for clothes, but green’s my favorite for M&Ms and board game playing pieces.  So if we ever play Sorry, save me the green piece—and watch your M&Ms bowl!

MP: Can you tell us anything about your next project?

AD: My next book, TEA PARTY RULES, is a humorous eventual friendship story between a bossy little girl and the bear cub who crashes her backyard tea party.  It’s edited by Leila Sales, illustrated by K.G. Campbell (LESTER’S DREADFUL SWEATERS), and will be released by Viking in Fall, 2013.

MP: Do you have any advice to offer aspiring authors?

AD: Read everything in your genre that you can, join SCBWI if you want to write for children, and if anybody tells you can’t become an author, stick your fingers in your ears and shout, “CAN, TOO!”

Thanks again to Ame Dyckman for taking the time to answer my questions. You can find more information about her books on her website.

If you want to read more about Boy + Bot check out my review!

You can also enter the giveaway for a signed copy plus Boy + Bot swag!

Boy + Bot: A Picture Book Review

Friends can come in all shapes and sizes–just ask Boy and Bot. This unlikely duo meet and have a grand time together until something goes wrong when Bot is rolling down the hill. Boy takes him home to help, but will he be able to nurse the robot back to health? Later, when Bot finds the boy has malfunctioned, will be able to repair the boy?

Boy + Bot (2012) by Ame Dyckman with illustrations by Dan Yaccarino is a delightful story that shows friendships can come in all shapes and sizes.

With sparse straightforward text, Dyckman tells a charming story of friendship (and robots). Yaccarino’s brightly colored illustrations help the story off the page as Boy and Bot try to help each other with often humorous results.

With repeating text and large illustrations (not to mention the symmetry of the story) Boy + Bot is a great choice to read aloud. Sure to be enjoyed by readers young and old.

Possible Pairings: Little Beauty by Anthony Browne, Clink by Kelly DiPucchio and Matthew Myers, A Day with Wilbur Robinson by William Joyce, The Monsters’ Monster by Patrick McDonnell, A Home for Bird by Phillip C. Stead

You can also read my exclusive interview with Ame Dyckman!