Arnie, an anthropomorphized doughnut with a snappy sense of humor, first rolled onto the scene in Laurie Keller’s picture book Arnie, the Doughnut (Holt/Ottaviano, 2003). Since then he’s been busy featuring in a series of illustrated chapter books—The Adventures of Arnie the Doughnut—and Keller has also shined a spotlight on spuds in Potato Pants! (Holt/Ottaviano, 2018) and the solar system in Pluto Gets the Call (S&S/Beach Lane, 2019), by Adam Rex. But now Arnie’s back for a new picture book outing in Hello, Arnie!, this time inviting readers to play along and answer questions as he tries to size up what kind of doughnut they might be. In celebration of Arnie’s picture book return, Keller has also treated readers to a baker’s dozen tasty tidbits about him, including what he’s been up to during quarantine. And as a sweet bonus, below she shares several original DoughnutMe portraits of some familiar kidlit figures.
“I thought it might be fun to tell a little bit about Arnie’s life before he left the bakery—I knew there was more to that story, so I had him give me the details,” Keller said about why it felt like a good time to create a new Arnie book. “I didn’t include my typical sideline jokes and comments this time so that it would be a simpler, quicker read than the lengthy original Arnie picture book.”
Though launching a book during a pandemic is of course a new experience for both Keller and Arnie, thankfully, they both have been faring well during these uncertain times. “Life hasn’t been all that different for me since I work from home,” Keller said. “But I do miss seeing people. And I miss Arnie! I haven’t seen him since early March because he’s quarantining with Mr. Bing and Arnie’s pizza-pal, Peezo. I miss them all, but we video-chat online a couple times a week so at least we have that. Arnie sent me a facemask made of dough, covered with frosting and sprinkles!”
A Baker’s Dozen List of Things to Know About Arnie the Doughnut:
1) Arnie was made by the Ringy-Dingy Doughnut Making Thingy © at the Downtown Bakery (Home of the Best Doughnuts A-Round!).
2) Arnie thought he had a million sprinkles when he first saw himself, but he really has only 135.
3) Arnie has blue, red, green, yellow and pink sprinkles, which he claims are the “lucky ones.”
4) Arnie didn’t know that doughnuts were made to be eaten and got a big shock when Mr. Bing tried to eat him (Mr. Bing was shocked too)!
5) Arnie does NOT want to be eaten even though all the other doughnuts in the bakery think it’s great that people love them and think they're so delicious. REPEAT: ARNIE DOES NOT WANT TO BE EATEN!
6) After much deliberation, Arnie agreed to be Mr. Bing’s Doughnut Dog instead of being his breakfast (though in some cases where dogs aren’t allowed, he assumes the “roll” of a regular doughnut).
7) Arnie loves to go to the bowling alley with Mr. Bing and his team, the Bingbats, on their league night every week (though they can’t go now during the pandemic and they miss it terribly).
8) Arnie’s favorite thing about the bowling alley is that the attached restaurant has a karaoke machine. His favorite song to sing is DONUT MAKE MY BROWN EYES BLUE.
9) Arnie’s best friend––besides Mr. Bing––is a greasy slice of pizza named Peezo, who he met at the bowling alley (he appears in each of the Arnie chapter books).
10) In Invasion of the Ufonuts, Arnie learned that Peezo’s last name is “Spielberg” and he is related to a famous movie director.
11) No matter what, Arnie always keeps his trusty bakery napkin nearby, which has helped get him out of some “sticky” situations.
12) Even though Mr. Bing tried to eat Arnie when they first met, they often laugh about it now.
13) Arnie is quarantining during this pandemic (“pan-dough-mic,” as Arnie calls it) with Mr. Bing and Peezo. They’re all big movie fans so they sit on the couch and binge-watch show after show and share their reviews with each other. And every afternoon, Arnie and Peezo sing and dance in the apartment complex courtyard to entertain fellow residents who watch, socially distanced, from their balconies and patios.