Otto, as is only fitting, is in love with autos—obnoxiously so.
He's even a little bullying about the topic. No food unless it can be referenced to cars, no playing in the school playground unless is has to do with cars. As for a bedtime story: “I don’t want to hear it unless it’s about cars.” So the next morning Otto wakens as an auto. Or at least in his mind’s eye; everyone else sees him as Otto, though the strange honking and vroom noises he is making have them wondering. When he can’t grab his cereal, he honks at his mother, who tells him that “This is a kitchen, not a garage.” No breakfast, buddy. No one wants to play car at school, so he’s left to drive in circles. On it goes until he has what all cars have: a breakdown—sputtery-sputtery-sput. At bedtime, Otto’s mother suggests that “everyone has to switch gears sometime.” LaReau plays the obsessive card closely and well: Otto is selfish in his obsession, but, on a note of hope, he is capable of change when the time is right. It helps that Magoon’s elastic, cartoony artwork can easily shift from little devil to little boy in a flash.
Maybe monomaniacal preschool readers will take the hint, too. (Picture book. 2-6)