A quick trip to the “backwards world” straightens out Otto the cat’s priorities as well as his spelling.
Having blithely announced that birthdays are more about cake, ice cream, balloons and, especially, gifts than family and friends, Otto is understandably peeved when all his party trappings are stolen. Following the thief through a gateway dubbed “the Palindrome” leads Otto to a cube-shaped world. There, garbage is dropped on the ground rather than in cans, and clothes are reversed (“Maybe next time you’ll listen to your mom and wear clean underwear,” snarks companion robot Toot). An adventuresome chase leads to the lair of Evil Olive—a tubby, green gent in the bright, cleanly drawn cartoon illustrations, topped with a red fez in place of a pimiento. Strewn with palindromes and reversed words that even emergent readers will have no trouble decoding, the miniodyssey leaves Otto in the right place: back home, partying with newly appreciated friends and family until latest invitee Evil Olive arrives with the stolen goodies.
A snappy follow-up to Otto’s Orange Day (2008), gift-wrapped around a worthy theme and frosted with tasty wordplay. (Graphic early reader. 5-7)