OTTO IN THE CITY by Tom Schamp


by , illustrated by
Age Range: 6 - 8
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A car trip into and then back through a busy city gives a young cat plenty to see.

Printed on oversized stock stiff enough to allow open spreads to lie flat, Schamp’s cityscapes teem with offbeat details. There are pedestrians who look like they stepped out of a Richard Scarry title (sharp-eyed viewers may even catch a sign for “R. Scarry St.”), vehicles shaped like animals’ heads, and buildings constructed from repurposed items like a thermos bottle and a ruler. Largely ignoring his passenger’s steady stream of questions and comments, Otto’s dad maneuvers their small car through increasingly dense traffic all the way to the car wash on the last page. Here the thoroughfare loops, signaling a rotation of the entire volume so that the previously upside-down top half of each illustration is now right side up. The two travelers now negotiate new (or sometimes the same) neighborhoods, parks, building sites and traffic circles on the way out. Sly references to classic movies, pop musicians (“Mumford & Son” reads the sign on a work truck), and artists like “Pablo” and “Andy” may keep attendant grown-ups amused along the way.

Urban oddities aplenty, spiffily presented in a format large enough to spread out on the floor for group viewing. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: March 4th, 2014
ISBN: 978-1-84976-167-3
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Tate/Abrams
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15th, 2014


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