7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #656: Featuring Zachariah OHora

h1 September 22nd, 2019 by jules


See that guy on the right? That’s Reuben of Troop 73, and he’s not the most self-aware dude. He is, in fact, the king of false accusations. He’s peed his pants, blames it on everyone else, and never really comes to understand that it’s his own doing. In fact, in the end he blames his pants. (“Thanks for nothing, leaky broken pants! Making me blame all my super great friends.”)

This is the story of Bob Shea’s Who Wet My Pants? (Little, Brown, September 2019), illustrated by Zachariah OHora. Child readers looooove to be one-up on the protagonist in a story. They’ll recognize that Reuben has — heaven bless him, it happens to the best of us — had an accident yet can’t accept it. He’d rather play the blame game, which … hey, it’s a tempting thing for even the non-narcissistic among us.



Cue hysterical laughter from preschool-age readers, especially those who have just nailed the whole potty thing. There’s a whole lot of hyperbolic humor here (“THESE PANTS ARE BROKEN!”), as only Bob Shea can deliver it, and OHora fills these illustrations with entertaining details, as only he can — the Scout badges on the opening and closing endpapers (“future podcaster” may be my favorite); the donut clock in the Silly Donuts shop; the board games at Reuben’s home (Clueless and Trivial Bearsuit); and even his dedication at the front of the book (“For everyone who remembered to lift the seat and close the lid when they were finished”).

At the heart of this very funny story is … well, a lot of heart. But it’s not saccharine-sweet. (Bob Shea wouldn’t do that to us.) Reuben’s friends may recognize he’s got a few issues with coping mechanisms (or as the cover says: “It’s not the crime … it’s the cover-up”) — we all have a friend like that — but they’re still there for him in the end. And not just because he brings donuts.

Below are some illustrations from the book, and Zachariah also shares some preliminary artwork. …


Preliminary Images:

Zachariah: [This image below is] when we first envisioned the book. I thought it would be fun if Reuben and friends were meeting at a bookstore for their weekly book club. The bookstore was kind of a mash-up of some famous London bookstores, and it was called Doyle Books after Sir Conan Doyle. There’s even a Sherlock hat as part of the logo, as this is clearly a mystery story. I can’t remember who thought of it, but somewhere along the way it got switched so that it was a scout troop in the woods.


(Click to enlarge)


This is the first version where Reuben’s friends see his wet pants:


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[These are] early versions of our bear hero. The little guy with the pink pants was named Spencer at the time.



A sample for the pitch:


(Click to enlarge)


Some Final Art:


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* * * * * * *

WHO WET MY PANTS? Text copyright © 2019 by Bob Shea. Illustrations copyright © 2019 by Zachariah OHora and reproduced by permission of the publisher, Little, Brown and Company, New York. All other images reproduced by permission of Zachariah OHora.

Note for any new readers: 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks is a weekly meeting ground for taking some time to reflect on Seven(ish) Exceptionally Fabulous, Beautiful, Interesting, Hilarious, or Otherwise Positive Noteworthy Things from the past week, whether book-related or not, that happened to you. New kickers are always welcome.

* * * Jules’ Kicks * * *

1) Brunch with a friend on a weekday. I got behind on work that day, but it was worth it to catch up.


3) This fabulous graphic novel, and now I’m so ready to visit a pumpkin patch:



4) Could it be?!!

5) The 2019 National Book Awards longlist was announced this past week, and as it turns out, I’m currently reading and enjoying two of the books listed in the category of Young People’s Literature.

6) Greta.

7) Making a playlist of my favorite songs from high school. It does make me feel old. But as someone I love always says, getting old is better than the alternative.

What are YOUR kicks this week?

9 comments to “7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #656: Featuring Zachariah OHora”

  1. What a fun book and if I were still doing PreK Story Time, this book would be on it.
    Jules, Greta is amazing, right? and so are all the young people who took to the streets on Friday. Hooray for the Far Side return!
    My kicks:
    1. Walks
    2. Lunch with friends.
    3. Planning a 50th year friendship event for next September.
    4. This YA book: The Way the Light Bends by Cordelia Jensen.
    5. And this adult book: The Pearl that Broke Its Shell by Nadia Hashimi/
    6. Making first fall dish: stew today.
    7. Learning Gaelic.
    Have a great week.

  2. PS… What are the two books on the 2019 list are your reading, Jules?

  3. Jone: Gaelic! That’s exciting. Thanks for the book recs, too. The two books I’m currently reading that ended up on the longlist are Akwaeke Emezi PET and Jason Reynolds’s LOOK BOTH WAYS. They are both so very, very good. The second chapter of PET made chills run down my spine.

  4. Good afternoon, Imps!


    Oh my goodness. Hello to Zachariah and Bob and the troops.

    Jules: If that playlist contains mostly alternative music, then you should title it with that phrase, “getting old is better than the alternative.” 😉

    Jone: That’s amazing. Have fun learning Gaelic, and happy forthcoming fifty-year-friendship-marker!

    My kicks:
    1) Good signs
    2) Immediacy
    3) Available
    4 and 5) Ebb and flow
    6) Ease
    7) Kindness

  5. Little Willow, you’ve certainly had good news on social media in the past few weeks. Congrats on your continued creative successes! I like your 4th and 5th kick. And, yes, great title for my playlist. It is, indeed, mostly old-skool, late-’80s alternative music (Robyn Hitchcock, anyone? Throw in some gloomy Morrissey) …. Woot!

  6. Thanks, Jules! 🙂

  7. Hiliarious – I’m so looking forward to seeing this book. What an excellent pairing of author and illustrator.

    Great Kicks, Everyone.

    Wowzer – I might loose it if the rumors are true and The Far Side is coming back – best years of my life! Just amazing.
    And yes, Greta!

    My Kicks:
    1. packing for a trip to Yellowstone National Park
    2. cooler weather
    3. author visit preparations for our school
    4. new Halloween picture books
    5. kindness from many
    6. generosity from several friends
    7. picture book beauty

    Have an amazing week!

  8. Love this book and the humor!

    Jules- weekday brunch sounds so decadent! Yay cupcakes. Greta is a FORCE. Love her and the young people marching/walking out with her on Friday all over the world.

    Jone – Gaelic??? Sounds hard but awesome. Yay for walks, friends and fall stew.

    Little Willow – hooray for good signs, ebb and flow, ease and kindness.

    Allison – what lovely kicks – enjoy Yellowstone!

    My kicks:
    1) Another long hard work week is behind me.
    2) As a way to chill out, re-watched Swing Shift (after so many years I’d forgotten most of it) and was thoroughly caught up on the story and the acting. Goldie Hawn, Kurt Russell, Christine Lahti and Ed Harris were all terrific.
    3) Read Katherine Rundell’s The Good Thieves. So so good.
    4) Was away from home for the week. Coming home to sweet Daisy pup on Friday night was pretty awesome. She was so happy to see me she sat on my lap.
    5) Binge watched the rest of Tales of the City.
    6) Tonight watched another older Goldie Hawn movie, this time Seems Like Old Times, with Chevy Chase and Charles Grodin. the slapstick and pratfalls were very fun (although there are some cringey stereotypes in there too). Best of all – Goldie’s character was a public defender with a pack of 6 dogs, including a St. Bernard named Hamlet and a Yorkie named Polonius.
    7) First fire in the fireplace of the Fall season tonight.
    7.5) Making a tiktok video of Daisy’s new Halloween costume:

    Have a great week Imps!

  9. Allison: Have fun on your trip! Hope the author visit goes well.

    Rachel: I’ve never seen Swing Shift. I gotta fix that. First fire! It’s still too warm here for that, but it sounds lovely. Loooove that video.

    Have a good week, you all!

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