Otto lives in a book and is happiest when his story is being read. Otto is no ordinary storybook character: when no one is looking, he comes to life! Otto loves to walk off of his book's pages, but when his book is taken away while Otto is off exploring, the book bear sets off on a grand adventure to find a new home.
Except...it's an awfully big world for such a small bear and Otto misses his warm book. Will Otto ever find the perfect home?
With sweet, timeless illustrations and a story that will have young readers watching their bookshelves in hopes of spotting wandering book creatures, this charming story is sure to delight book lovers everywhere.
About the Author
Katie Cleminson is the author-illustrator of Magic Box (2009), and Cuddle Up, Goodnight (2011), both published by Disney-Hyperion. Among manyother awards, Ms. Cleminson was named the Best Emerging Illustrator of 2009 inthe prestigious Booktrust Early Years Awards.
Praise for Otto the Book Bear…
This is the metastory of Otto, a bear who lives in a book that sits on a shelf in a home library. "[H]e was at his happiest when children read his book," writes Cleminson (Magic Box), but he also delights in those times when he magically (and secretly) escapes the confines of the book to explore the house and even work on some writing of his own. Otto doesn't become the size of a real bear, however: he remains book-sized. And that's a serious drawback when circumstances force him out into the big, bustling world. But a happy ending awaits the indomitable Otto, one that should gladden the hearts of anyone who's a fan of the public library-or as Cleminson so beautifully describes it, "a place that looked full of light and hope." Cleminson is one of the latest in a long line of British storytellers who excel at being brisk and businesslike on the outside and deeply empathic on the inside. Her drawings, which combine a bold ink line with subtle yet radiant color, are as pointed and poignant as her prose.—PW
Otto the Book Bear comfortably in his book, but when no one is looking, he comes to life and wanders off the book's pages. One fateful day, he is left behind by his human family and thus must go out into the world to find a new place. It's a treacherous journey, but Otto finally ends up at the city library, where he discovers a whole group of "book creatures" who, like Otto, come to life and love to have adventures. At its heart, this British import offers the fanciful premise of miniature storybook characters coming alive and exploring together. There are, however, too many unanswered questions about his situation: Why was his book left behind? Why doesn't he return to the book's pages upon his abandonment? Why doesn't he discover the existence of other book characters from other books at his initial residence? The art is airily appealing, featuring muted watercolors framed by thick, casual black outlines that lend a softness to Otto's quest. Otto is depicted as about the size of a mouse, and the illustrations are particularly good at portraying the daunting scale of the big world around him. Listeners with a soft spot for the lost might prefer a more developed tale such as Vulliamy's Small (BCCB 4/02), but this could provide a nice pro-library readaloud for storytime. HM—BCCB
PreS-Gr 2 Otto resides in a picture book, and he is happiest when it is being read. But when no one is looking, the bear comes alive and enjoys exploring the house. Then his family moves away and the book is left behind, so he ventures outside to search the city for a new home. Tiny among the giant people on the street and missing his warm book, he feels downhearted until he sees a grand building full of light and hope a library. There, he is befriended by other book creatures and, best of all, finds new readers. The thickly inked illustrations surrounded by lots of white space have an uncluttered, simple look that is appropriate for young readers. Although no specific time is indicated, the appearance of a gramophone, dial phone, and manual typewriters places the story in a bygone era. Otto does not change size when he steps out of his book, but his small stature is not an issue when he is comfortably at home. However, the outside world seems daunting and lonely, giving the story an emotional impact. A sweet tale. Martha Simpson, Stratford Library Association, CT—SLJ
Otto the bear lives in a book, and he is happiest when performing his literary role for the young readers of the house. But when his story is placed back on the shelf, the adventuresome bear, in a whimsical stroke of metafiction, likes to climb out of its pages and go exploring. The trouble starts when the family moves away and inadvertently leaves Otto's book behind. In a refreshing twist on this familiar trope, resilient Otto packs his book bag and heads out to find himself a new home. After a tough time in the bustling, indifferent city, the ursine little fellow stumbles upon a place "full of light and hope. You guessed it-the library. Spacious white backgrounds put the book's winsome art deservedly front and center and highlight its distinctive black outlines and soft washes of color and shading. The unadorned text fits nicely with Cleminson's varied compositions. A charming, gentle celebration of books and libraries. - Kristen McKulski—Booklist
Otto usually lives as an illustration of a book, but when no one is looking, he comes to life. All is usually well when Otto explores the house-he can read other books, poke about the house and even type out a story on the typewriter. But when the bookshelf is cleared and the books placed in boxes ominously marked "ship to," little Otto is separated from his book and must go out into the world alone. Drawing with ink-filled pipettes and watercolor against extensive white space, Cleminson's emotional illustrations show just how lonely and tiny Otto is out in the world. On the inside, he is a comfortable, confident size, but out in the world, he is nearly lost in urban hubbub. Young readers will enjoy locating the tiny Otto and will identify with his fear and worry, especially when he is forced to take refuge in the darkness of a coffee cup, alongside an apple core. It's only when he finds himself with books again, in the library, that Otto feels truly at home, with other "book creatures just like him." Book creatures of all ages will love Otto and will enjoy wondering if any other of their books' characters have a secret life. A delight. (Picture book. 4-8)—Kirkus