Big City Otto

Overview

Otto is a lumbering, sweet-natured elephant who can't forget his childhood chum Georgie, a smiley-faced chimpanzee who was abducted and shipped away from their forest home by the mysterious and sinister Man with the Wooden Nose. Accompanied by a wisecracking but protective parrot named Crackers, Otto decides to hop a plane and look for Georgie in America. But once they hit the wild streets of the concrete jungle, Otto and Crackers court trouble at every turn -- even becoming unwittingly involved in the seedy ...
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Overview

Otto is a lumbering, sweet-natured elephant who can't forget his childhood chum Georgie, a smiley-faced chimpanzee who was abducted and shipped away from their forest home by the mysterious and sinister Man with the Wooden Nose. Accompanied by a wisecracking but protective parrot named Crackers, Otto decides to hop a plane and look for Georgie in America. But once they hit the wild streets of the concrete jungle, Otto and Crackers court trouble at every turn -- even becoming unwittingly involved in the seedy alligator underworld dominating the city sewers. And little do these out-of-place out-oftowners realize that they, too, are being doggedly pursued across the city -- by the local police! Will the authorities catch Otto and Crackers? Will Otto and Crackers find Georgie? Who is the Man with the Wooden Nose? And what's an elephant doing sporting a trenchcoat and fedora?
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Editorial Reviews

VOYA - Heather Christensen
What does an elephant do when a stranger kidnaps his best friend and takes him to a foreign country far away? He stows away on an airplane, disguises himself in "borrowed" human clothing, and launchs a full-scale rescue operation, of course. This amusing new graphic series follows the adventures of Otto the elephant as he tries to find and liberate Georgie the monkey (who happens to be Otto's best friend) from the "man with the wooden nose." Otto is a sweet, loyal friend who does not trust his own instincts, but instead seeks out the not always helpful advice of his sidekick, Crackers, a slightly cynical, sarcastic parrot. Together they navigate the big city and match wits with a nasty gang of alligator criminals. In both the plot and the colorful illustrations, Slavin capitalizes on the physical comedy of putting an elephant in small, crowded places. This technique will be sure to tickle the funny bone of younger readers, especially one memorable event involving the overconsumption of prunes. In many ways, this feels like the other side of Curious George's story—that of the loss felt by George's friends (or in this case, Georgie's) when he suddenly disappears from the jungle they all call home. Give this to younger middle school students looking for a funny story of loyalty and friendship. Reviewer: Heather Christensen
Children's Literature - Michael Jung PhD
Life in the African jungle is a lot of fun for sweet-tempered elephant Otto—until a cruel man with a wooden nose snatches his best friend Georgie the Chimpanzee and loads him on a boat set for America. Fortunately elephants don't forget their friends—so when Otto's parrot friend Crackers suggests they hitch their own ride to America (courtesy of their airport's Special and Oversized Baggage service and a lot of baggage wrap), Otto jumps at the chance! But navigating their way through America's big cities is tough, and Otto and Crackers find America is full of fast-talking organ grinder monkeys, crazy zoo animals, and a secret underworld of sewer-dwelling Cajun alligator gangsters! Can any of these strange city folk help Otto and Crackers find Georgie? Or will the bumbling elephant become just another patsy for the concrete jungle? The first book in Slavin's "Elephants Never Forget" series, this offbeat graphic novel offers a lot of genuinely funny comedic dialogue (a particularly hilarious running joke shows the jaded city folk constantly reporting Otto as an enormously fat man rather than an elephant). Kids will also enjoy the sight gags in Slavin's highly detailed artwork—particularly when he shows what happens when an elephant with an ironic allergy gets within two feet of a bag of peanuts. Good diversionary fun for elementary school audiences. Reviewer: Michael Jung, PhD
School Library Journal
Gr 2–4—Otto the elephant and Crackers the parrot leave their forest home in Africa to find their missing friend George, a monkey. They end up in the big city, where poor Otto attempts to squeeze through a subway turnstile and literally "catches" a cab with his trunk. The travelers encounter a host of animal characters on their adventure, including an alligator named Cajun Joe, who guides them toward their next trip, in volume two, to the bayou. Drawn in a colorful cartoon style, with plenty of corny jokes and visual gags, this is a gentle, humorous adventure that children should enjoy.—Lisa Goldstein, Brooklyn Public Library, NY
Kirkus Reviews

A throwback to old-school comics, this series opener offers a whimsical menagerie of wild animals in search of a beloved friend.

Simpleton pachyderm Otto enlists his friend, a clever green parrot named Crackers, to help him find Otto's very best friend, Georgie, a chimpanzee who was stolen from their African jungle home by "the man with the wooden nose." The duo must make their way out of the jungle and soon find themselves across the pond in America, in the big city. When the pair falls in with a gang of crooked gators who take advantage of Otto's unfortunate peanut allergy (to help them steal gator-ade, of course), Otto and Crackers need to learn who is trustworthy—and who is out to take advantage of their naivete. Slavin's lush, full-color illustrations have a yesteryear feel with a dash of European influence, invoking the likes of Tintin or Asterix. This makes for a slower, gentler type of graphic novel; while the action chugs along, Otto has a distinctly mellower feel than many of his slick, whizzing contemporaries. While Otto's sensitive bumbling may appeal in this volume, it has the potential to wear itself thin in subsequent volumes, if more is not done to develop him as a character.

Not for every reader, but fans of comics reminiscent of simpler times will certainly enjoy this. (Graphic fantasy. 9-12)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781554534777
  • Publisher: Kids Can Press, Limited
  • Publication date: 9/1/2011
  • Series: Elephants Never Forget Series
  • Pages: 80
  • Age range: 8 - 11 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.60 (h) x 0.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Bill Slavin is an award-winning children's book illustrator with over 50 books to his credit. His works include Stanley's Party and The Bear on the Bed. He lives in Millbrook, Ontario.

Bill Slavin is an award-winning children's book illustrator with over 50 books to his credit. His works include Stanley's Party and The Bear on the Bed. He lives in Millbrook, Ontario.

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