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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)