Who Wet My Pants? (Bob Shea)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Who Wet My Pants?, written by Bob Shea and illustrated by Zachariah OHora, a silly yet sweet tale of compassion.

Returning with Troop 73’s donut order for breakfast, Rueben the bear (the scout leader) is shocked to find that – gasp! – SOMEONE HAS WET HIS PANTS. Not THEIR pants, mind you; someone else has wet RUEBEN’S pants. Shocked by this act of vandalism, Rueben withholds the donuts as he interrogates his embarrassed friends, all of whom kindly attempt to tell Rueben that wetting one’s pants is nothing to be ashamed of. Unwilling to take the blame, Rueben continues his investigation, retracing his steps and even entertaining the possibility that the pants themselves are defective. Will Rueben find the dastardly culprit? Or was the answer closer to home all along…?

Adorable and sweet. From the outset, it’s obvious that Rueben’s wild accusations and denial are the result of his avoiding blame and a publicly embarrassing situation, something that both kids and adults can sympathize with. And while Rueben’s hilarious antics handle the comedic aspects of the book, it’s his friends’ quiet acceptance, understanding, and compassion that provides an unexpected serving of pathos. By reminding Rueben that he has nothing to be ashamed of and offering to help him get cleaned up, even in the face of his accusations and lashing out, this comedy also becomes a nice lesson in empathy. OHora’s signature art style of thick lines, bold block colors, and expressive characters is perfect for the tone, and the illustrations are filled with fun details and nods to adult readers. The length is perfect, and JJ and I were both giggling until the last page. A lovely tale of kindness wrapped in a silly outer shell, and we loved it. Baby Bookworm approved!

The Not So Quiet Library (Zachariah OHora)

Hello, friends! Our book today is The Not So Quiet Library by Zachariah OHora, a delightfully offbeat tale about the joys of libraries and books.

In the home of brothers Theodore (a little boy) and Oskar (a bear), Saturdays are the best day of the week. After all, Dad starts the day by bringing them to the bakery for fresh donuts, and then it’s off to the library! Theodore and Oskar head straight for the kid’s section (Dad heads straight for the “Nap” section), and happily settle in for some quality storytime. That is until a five-headed monster named Seymour/Chuck/Winston/Pat/Bob interrupts by making a racket. And doing what, you ask? Why, EATING BOOKS! Unfortunately, they find the taste rather displeasing, even after loading the texts with condiments. When Theodore explains that books are for reading and not eating, the cranky monster decides that they will eat the brothers instead! It’s going to take some quick thinking and some leftover donuts to get out of this one! Or perhaps a storytime may do the trick instead…

Silly, quirky fun. OHora has a knack for creating stories that are filled with simple, original plots and the type of oddball humor that kids love. This tale is no different, somehow managing to capture the joy of spending a quiet day at the library in a story about monster(s) who pour sprinkles and mustard on books to improve their taste. And not to worry, SeChWiPaBo (my own abbreviation) does come to realize their bad manners(they blame low blood sugar), and become ardent library helpers and new friends. OHora’s signature block-color and heavy-lined illustrations are a treat as always, the length is fine, and JJ had plenty of giggles throughout. A treat, and Baby Bookworm approved!

Niblet & Ralph (Zachariah OHora)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Niblet & Ralph by Zachariah OHora, a hilarious tale of mistaken identity.

Two nearly-identical cats, Ralph (with his humans, Gemma and her dad) and Niblet (with his humans, Dilla and his mom), live in the same apartment complex in the city, but only the two of them know it. They’re great friends – they look at each other through their windows, meow at each other on the phone, and share the sun at basking time. One day, Ralph figures out a clever way to visit Niblet… in the same moment that Niblet is slipping out to visit Ralph! The two cats are mistaken for their counterpart by the parents, but Gemma and Dilla are certain immediately that their particular furry friend has been replaced with an imposter. Going out the next day to search, the two run into each other, and new friendships are formed.

Adorable. This fun tale of swapped felines oozes charm, both from OHora’s distinct art style – bold colors, heavy black lines, and expressive characters – and his blend of kid-friendly absurdist visual and textual humor. I especially loved the rich environment of the apartment complex and its inhabitants, including the cats’ families – the walls and shelves are filled with art, books, records; the people are multicultural and diverse. The length is great, and JJ loved the kitties, so this one is definitely Baby Bookworm approved!

(P.S. – Animal nerds such as myself will be extra amused by the fact that both calico cats are male – around a 1 in 9 million chance occurance!)

Read The Book, Lemmings! (Ame Dyckman)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Read The Book, Lemmings!, written by Ame Dyckman and illustrated by Zachariah OHora, a hilariously silly tale of three little lemmings and the dangers of illiteracy.

Captain PB and Foxy the first mate are sailing their container ship/whale, the S.S. Cliff, through a frozen sea when they are joined by three adorable little lemmings. Brushing up on the creatures, Foxy is surprised to learn from his book that lemmings do NOT, in fact, jump off of cliffs. But the moment he says the word “jump” aloud, the three headstrong lemmings decide that this sounds like fun, and leap into the frigid ocean! Foxy hurries to rescue them, warm them up, then give them names (so he can properly scold them). He urges them to read the book, but after a few disastrous failed attempts to keep them out of the water, he realizes that the lemmings cannot read. Having earned their love and devotion through his multiple rescues, Foxy teaches the lemmings to read so that they can discover for themselves the truth of lemmings – though it does little to temper their adventurous spirits…

Wonderful! Having adored Dyckman and OHora’s previous collaborations, I was so excited to read this one, and it did not disappoint! The story is light, original, and a perfect mix of silly and sweet. OHora’s signature matte paintings create bright, bold visuals with adorable and expressive characters, and the witty text is a delight to read aloud. The length is perfect, and JJ and I had a blast reading it. A splendid and silly tale with a touch of heart, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved!

Horrible Bear! (Ame Dyckman)

Hello, friends! Today, we read Horrible Bear!, written by Ame Dyckman and illustrated by Zachariah OHora, a charming story about what can happen when we lash out in anger.

A little girl’s kite flies into a bear’s cave while he sleeps, but when the girl tries to retrieve it, he unknowingly rolls onto it and snaps it! Upset over her broken toy, the girl wakes him with, “HORRIBLE BEAR!” and storms out and all the way home. Puzzled and offended, the bear storms out too, intending to wake her from sleep with yelling and general horribleness. But when he arrives, what he finds just might change his mind.

This was a very cute story about the dangers of being quick to anger or judgement without considering things from all points of view (which is, frankly, a lesson the whole world could use these days). The conflict between Bear and the little girl is very relatable for parents and children, and has a wonderfully sweet resolution. The adorable illustrations are packed with fun details and lots of charm, and even an Easter egg or two for fans of Dyckman and OHora’s previous collaboration, Wolfie The Bunny. The length is perfect, and JJ loved it, so this one is very much Baby Bookworm approved!