While I will not say Ame Dyckman is one of my favorite authors (mostly as I have not read everything and will leave designation for when I have), I will say she is up there. And I will say she is one of my favorite people I have never actually met. I have had interactions with her on Twitter, read several books and found her funny. Granted, you might not say, “Oh that’s an Ame book” while reading/after reading, but her humorous tone is similar with her all books, yet each is different enough that if one is not for you, you can try another. Therefore, after learning it is Dyckman you most likely will say, “Well of course that’s an Ame book! It has her pink-haired (or blue, or shocking blond or ….) touch.”
Her two latest books (both out 2021) have Ame Dyckman all over it. The New Kids Has Fleas also has Eda Kaban’s touch on the illustrations. And Tiny Barbarian has Ashley Spires illustrated touch.
The New Kid Has Fleas is a story that combines a few themes. The first is school, the second new students, third being yourself and finally not judging a book by its cover or by the rumors. The new student is odd. They don’t wear shoes and look like they were raised by wolves. A classmate even spreads the rumor the new girl has fleas. But when the narrator and the new girl are paired together for a project, things are not what they seem. A fun, goofy book that teaches to look past the surface, get to know people and always be yourself. Kaban’s illustrations are a hoot. They have the perfect details; the pages are busy but not overwhelming and the use of color fits the tone perfectly.
And with her Tiny Barbarian we still have a bit of the acceptance of yourself, but also bravery. Tiny wants to be a brave Barbarian who conquers it all! Yet, he has a little problem (he’s afraid of the dark). We follow Tiny throughout the book by how Spires portrays him with their on-point illustrations. They are colorful, but not overwhelming, along with the right number of details to each page. The text and illustrations are happy companions and move you along to the conclusion. Dyckman’s signature humor and tone is proud and out loud.
Both books are aimed at the five and up crowd and work for solo reader, one-on-one or in a group setting.