Welcome back, Otto. Glad you’re here to stay

GO, OTTO, GO!

From the Adventures of Otto series

Almost a decade and a half after crash-landing on Earth in See Otto (2002), Milgrim’s lovable robot is back and thinking about returning home.

“See Otto.” Readers see Otto looking at a family portrait of two adult robots and one child robot. “See Otto look at his home” reveals the robot peering through a telescope. An expansive, wordless double-page spread following shows Otto looking up at the stars, the family picture clamped in one “hand,” before getting to “work, work, work” in subsequent spreads. “No, Otto, no!” readers may well protest as they watch the robot hammering and welding scrap metal into a booster-rocket backpack, and it’s clear that’s what his animal pals are thinking as they bid him adieu. But although Otto goes “up, up, up,” with an “uh-oh,” Otto goes “down, down, down”—then left and right, and then “here” (through a desert) and “there” (past some penguins), ultimately only to get “nowhere.” As in the earlier installments in the Adventures of Otto, Milgrim combines very few words arranged in easy-to-decode patterns with a perfect balance of laugh-out-loud slapstick and honest emotion—here, real pathos—for a rich, complete story readers just taking baby steps toward literacy can manage. When Otto looks up from the wreckage to see his jubilant friends and realizes he’s “looking at his home” and his found family, readers will feel the complexity of his emotions.

Welcome back, Otto. Glad you’re here to stay . (Early reader. 4-8)

Pub Date: May 24, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4814-6724-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Simon Spotlight

Review Posted Online: March 16, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2016

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A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift.

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BECAUSE I HAD A TEACHER

A paean to teachers and their surrogates everywhere.

This gentle ode to a teacher’s skill at inspiring, encouraging, and being a role model is spoken, presumably, from a child’s viewpoint. However, the voice could equally be that of an adult, because who can’t look back upon teachers or other early mentors who gave of themselves and offered their pupils so much? Indeed, some of the self-aware, self-assured expressions herein seem perhaps more realistic as uttered from one who’s already grown. Alternatively, readers won’t fail to note that this small book, illustrated with gentle soy-ink drawings and featuring an adult-child bear duo engaged in various sedentary and lively pursuits, could just as easily be about human parent- (or grandparent-) child pairs: some of the softly colored illustrations depict scenarios that are more likely to occur within a home and/or other family-oriented setting. Makes sense: aren’t parents and other close family members children’s first teachers? This duality suggests that the book might be best shared one-on-one between a nostalgic adult and a child who’s developed some self-confidence, having learned a thing or two from a parent, grandparent, older relative, or classroom instructor.

A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-943200-08-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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An invitation to wonder, imagine and look at everything (humans included) in a new way.

NOAH CHASES THE WIND

A young boy sees things a little differently than others.

Noah can see patterns in the dust when it sparkles in the sunlight. And if he puts his nose to the ground, he can smell the “green tang of the ants in the grass.” His most favorite thing of all, however, is to read. Noah has endless curiosity about how and why things work. Books open the door to those answers. But there is one question the books do not explain. When the wind comes whistling by, where does it go? Noah decides to find out. In a chase that has a slight element of danger—wind, after all, is unpredictable—Noah runs down streets, across bridges, near a highway, until the wind lifts him off his feet. Cowman’s gusty wisps show each stream of air turning a different jewel tone, swirling all around. The ribbons gently bring Noah home, setting him down under the same thinking tree where he began. Did it really happen? Worthington’s sensitive exploration leaves readers with their own set of questions and perhaps gratitude for all types of perspective. An author’s note mentions children on the autism spectrum but widens to include all who feel a little different.

An invitation to wonder, imagine and look at everything (humans included) in a new way. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 14, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-60554-356-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Redleaf Lane

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2015

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