A snappy follow-up to Otto’s Orange Day (2008), gift-wrapped around a worthy theme and frosted with tasty wordplay.

READ REVIEW

OTTO'S BACKWARDS DAY

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)

Pub Date: Aug. 6, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-9351-7933-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: TOON/Candlewick

Review Posted Online: June 26, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2013

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OTTO’S ORANGE DAY

Young Otto loves orange so much that when a sly genie rises up out of an old lamp he receives from Aunt Sally Lee, he uses his one wish to turn all the world that color. His ensuing bliss changes to blues, though, after he gets a gander at his orange lunch and then sees what happens on the street when every traffic light is the same color. Cammuso illustrates comics veteran Lynch’s tale in neatly drawn sequential panels, casting Otto as a cat (marmalade, of course) in human dress and pairing him with a blue, distinctly Disneyesque genie. Discovering that said genie hasn’t eaten in 880 years, Otto cleverly calls on the persuasive power of pizza to reverse the wish, and by the end all’s well. Low on violence and high on production values, this comics-format “Toon Book” will leave emergent readers wishing for more. (Early reader. 5-7)

Pub Date: June 9, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-9799238-2-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: RAW Junior/TOON Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2008

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Another outing positively radiant with child appeal, featuring a pair of close siblings with complementary personalities.

BENNY AND PENNY IN LIGHTS OUT

From the Benny and Penny series

It’s bedtime for the mouseling brother and sister—but not before plenty of horsing around and a deliciously scary expedition into the backyard.

As little Penny quietly tries to wash up and pretend-read a story (“One day the princess was sent to her room for being bratty. But she had a secret door…”), her restless big brother interrupts obnoxiously with warnings about the Boogey Mouse, loud belches and other distractions. When Benny realizes that he’s left his prized pirate hat in the backyard, though, Penny braves the Boogey Mouse to follow him out of the window and prod him into reclaiming it from the spooky, dark playhouse. She also “reads” him to sleep after the two race, giggling at their fright, back indoors. Framed in sequential panels that occasionally expand to full-page or double-spread scenes, the art features a pair of big-eared, bright-eyed mites (plus the occasional fictive dinosaur) in cozy domestic settings atmospherically illuminated by the glow of lamps, Benny’s flashlight and the moon. As in this popular series’ earlier episodes, dialogue in unobtrusive balloons furnishes the only text, but the action is easy to follow, and Hayes provides plenty of finely drawn visual cues to the characters’ feelings.

Another outing positively radiant with child appeal, featuring a pair of close siblings with complementary personalities. (Graphic early reader. 5-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 28, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-935179-20-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: TOON/Candlewick

Review Posted Online: April 25, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2012

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