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


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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Fast and furious action guaranteed to keep new readers laughing and turning pages.


From the I Like To Read Comics series

Never underestimate the chaotic fun that magic and an angry bouncing ball can create.

When Frog goes to the library, he borrows a book on magic. He then heads to a nearby park to read up on the skills necessary to becoming “a great magician.” Suddenly, a deflated yellow ball lands with a “Thud!” at his feet. Although he flexes his new magician muscles, Frog’s spells fall as flat as the ball. But when Frog shouts “Phooey!” and kicks the ball away, it inflates to become a big, angry ball. The ball begins to chase Frog, so he seeks shelter in the library—and Frog and ball turn the library’s usual calm into chaos. The cartoon chase crescendos. The ball bounces into the middle of a game of chess, interrupts a puppet show, and crashes into walls and bookcases. Staying just one bounce ahead, Frog runs, hides, grabs a ride on a book cart, and scatters books and papers as he slides across the library furniture before an alligator patron catches the ball and kicks it out the library door. But that’s not the end of the ball….Caple’s tidy panels and pastel-hued cartoons make a surprisingly effective setting for the slapstick, which should have young readers giggling. Simple sentences—often just subject and verb—with lots of repetition propel the action. Frog’s nonsense-word spells (“Poof Wiffle, Bop Bip!”) are both funny and excellent practice in phonetics. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Fast and furious action guaranteed to keep new readers laughing and turning pages. (Graphic early reader. 5-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 10, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-8234-4341-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: June 2, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2021

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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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