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)