Books by Matt Ottley

TEACUP by Rebecca Young
Kirkus Star
by Rebecca Young, illustrated by Matt Ottley
CHILDREN'S
Released: Oct. 4, 2016

"Enchanting, beautiful, and full of hope. (Picture book. 3-8)"
In a book that combines short, poetic sentences with dramatic visual art, a light-skinned boy, needing a new home, sets off to sea in a rowboat. Read full book review >
PARACHUTE by Danny Parker
CHILDREN'S
Released: March 11, 2016

"The very air around Toby seems to vibrate, and it's a great relief when he leaves the parachute behind; readers know there'll be plenty more adventures without it. (Picture book. 4-8)"
A young boy learns to let go of the object that makes him feel safest in a picture book that effectively skews perspective to great effect (and great heights). Read full book review >
ME AND MY DAD by Sally Morgan
CHILDREN'S
Released: June 1, 2011

"Seek out more successful funny tales of fathers and sons, such as Ethan Long's My Dad, My Hero (2010) and Liz Rosenberg's Tyrannosaurus Dad, illustrated by Matthew Myers (2010).(Picture book. 3-5)"
In this average offering, a boy, his dad and their small dog spend a day at the beach. Read full book review >
LUKE’S WAY OF LOOKING by Nadia Wheatley
CHILDREN'S
Released: Oct. 1, 2001

Luke draws the nose and ears in the wrong place in a portrait. And worst of all he draws a completely imaginary view of the scene through the classroom window. Mr. Barraclough totally rejects Luke's artistic attempts. He screams at Luke, tears his work, and even destroys his brushes. Friday art class becomes a torment. One Friday Luke gets on a bus, and discovers a museum of modern art. "For the first time in his life, Luke felt at home." (This brings up some unanswered questions about his home life. Perhaps his teacher is not the only one who rejects his vision.) He sees abstract and surreal paintings and sculptures that look just perfect to him. He is carried back to school in such a state of euphoria that even the bus ride presents him with exciting new visions. He arrives just in time to join the art class and paints a watermelon of such surreal beauty that even Mr. Barraclough is speechless. In a visual tour de force Ottley uses a dazzling variety of styles, media, and techniques that virtually encapsulate a history of modern art and includes visual references to Picasso, Dali, Pollock, and more. On the surface Wheatley's text and Ottley's illustrations present a plea for understanding that the artist's vision should be accepted, appreciated, and allowed to express itself freely. However, there appears to be something disturbing here too. Mr. Barraclough is presented as a raging, monstrous figure both in the text and the illustrations. He doesn't just disapprove of Luke's art; he becomes a depiction of evil. Mr. Barraclough and everything in the ordinary world are drawn in pen and ink with an emphasis on shadows. Only Luke's paintings and the works in the museum are given color. As Luke is awakened to the "rightness" of his vision, he and the world around him take on color and brightness. Mr. B. doesn't achieve color until he ceases to denigrate Luke's work. So what is the message? Who decides what art is good art? In the end there is no real respect for different visions; they are merely placed in warring camps, sure to stir up controversy. (Picture book. 8-10)Read full book review >
WHAT FAUST SAW by Matt Ottley
ANIMALS
Released: May 1, 1996

No, not a sequel to the Goethe classic; the Mephistophelian horrors herein are strictly for laughs. Faust, a lovable mutt, wakes up one night to see an alien ship landing in front of his house. When he howls to wake his family, he is locked outside with a fantastic array of reptilian invaders, who keep chucking him back indoors. In one of the more amusing scenes, the gigantic monsters find ludicrous hiding places as the father searches the yard for the source of Faust's terror. The misunderstood, petrified, and ultimately angry dog is readily identifiable by any child who's ever been unjustly accused of wrongdoing. The playfulness of the typography—letters swerve through paintings, change fonts midsentence, even turn the corner of a building—competes with the illustrations, which are dynamic enough to stand up to repeated viewing. This is a rollicking good time, with a flappable canine hero who steals the show. (Picture book. 5-8) Read full book review >