Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Graphic Novel Week: Big City Otto

Big City Otto (Elephants Never Forget)

Big City Otto
by Bill Slavin
Kids Can Press, 2011
review copy provided by the publisher

Otto, the elephant, can't forget his childhood friend, Georgie, the chimp, who was stolen from the jungle by The Man With the Wooden Nose. Crackers, the parrot, and Otto set out to find Georgie. They manage to get on a plane as excess baggage, get to A Big City in America, and begin to search for Georgie. They wind up involved with some shady 'gators in the underground (literally) of the big city. They bust up the mob, get some clues about Georgie, and set off for the Bayou to find him.

There are a lot of sight gags and puns in this story that are likely to go right over younger readers' heads, but young readers are also more likely to accept the impossibility of...well, of the entire storyline. The talking animals, an elephant who can disguise himself in a jacket and hat and go undetected in a crowd...it's all crazy enough to be on Saturday morning TV. Which is why it might work better for kids than logic-minded adults.

This is the second graphic novel this summer (see my review of Sidekicks) that has featured a character with a peanut allergy! Otto is allergic to peanuts, and the mobster 'gators use his explosive sneezes to their advantage.

This is book one of a series that might need to be read sequentially. It's interesting that the story line is the same basic story line as the THREE THIEVES series that I reviewed yesterday: the are chased, separated, helped, reunited, swindled, separated again, helped again, reunited, and the book ends as they set off on in a new direction to find the missing character.

Recommended for readers in 4th-6th grades.


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