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Born to Drive (Otto Undercover Series #1)
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Born to Drive (Otto Undercover Series #1)

4.3 3
by Rhea Perlman, Dan Santat (Illustrator)
 

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Stuff in this book:

A kid racecar driver
He's also an inventor and a very bad singer

Two Nutty Aunts

A Remote Control Pocket Watch

A Racecar named Racecar

Dumb bad guys

$1 million

a lousy creep

backward words

more than 14 laughs

Overview

Stuff in this book:

A kid racecar driver
He's also an inventor and a very bad singer

Two Nutty Aunts

A Remote Control Pocket Watch

A Racecar named Racecar

Dumb bad guys

$1 million

a lousy creep

backward words

more than 14 laughs

Editorial Reviews

Since his wacky aunts FiFi and FooFoo wrote "a note to get him out of school for the rest of his life," Otto has become an ace race-car driver, inventor, and budding secret agent. When a couple of thugs steal the boy's car, it's up to Otto to save the day. Short, action-packed chapters laced with comic drawings make this a page-turner for even the most reluctant reader. Actress Perlman liberally sprinkles her text with snappy asides, choice comebacks like "I've seen better-looking meat loaves," and clever wordplay, including anagrams and palindromes. This is a strong debut in a series that should keep young fans motoring right along. (Ages 6 to 8)
Child magazine's Best Children's Book Awards 2006
Publishers Weekly - Publishers Weekly
In the launch title of the Otto Undercover series, Perlman's mostly feeble stabs at humor will likely elicit fewer laughs than her deftly delivered comedic performances as an actress. In the driver's seat is Otto Pillip, who has built his own racecar, the fastest on the planet, which, given his penchant for palindromes, he has named Racecar. Since his parents left years ago (allegedly on an expedition to discover the eighth continent), Otto has lived with his two aunts, who helped him get his driver's license (which entailed passing a 30-page written test) and wrote a note "to get him out of school for the rest of his life." The villains here are two bumbling blockheads who "were both in third grade for eight years, till they got kicked out of school for setting fire to the teacher." Determined to win the $1 million first-place prize in a big road race, this dastardly duo steals Racecar, leaving a look-alike in its place. Luckily, Otto has some inventions up his sleeve and a happy ending is in store. Santat's brash cartoons add to the inanity of this slim caper, which contains numerous palindromes, anagrams and backward words, decoded in the pages' margins. The second title, Canyon Catastrophe (0-06-075498-2; paper 0-06-075497-4) is being published simultaneously. Ages 7-11. (Jan.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Otto Pillip is in love with racecars and word plays. In fact, he built his racecar himself and gave it a palindrome similar to his own name: racecar. The bad guys are out to win the big race and get their million dollars. However, Otto has something in store for these "dumb, bad guys." He is sure to prove that he is the fastest racer around. That is if he gets his racecar back. Otto lives with his crazy and nutty aunts FiFi and FooFoo. FiFi is a bad singer and FooFoo is a chef. Both of his aunts are his biggest allies and part of his road crew. They go to the ends of the earth to help Otto (whose real name is Jake) win the race. In the end, Otto finds out that his parents did not really leave him; they became secret agents, chosen to defend the world against lousy people. They want Otto and his racecar to join them in their quest. You will have to read to see if he joins the club. This is Perlman's first book in the undercover series. The illustrations are graphically portrayed and enhance each chapter. The chapters can be easily read by all readers interested in fun, adventure, and pure thrill. 2006, HarperCollins Publishers, and Ages 9 to 12.
—Kelly Grebinoski
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
Gr 3-6-Otto Pillip loves palindromes, which isn't surprising, given his name. Although he's only 11, he invents all kinds of incredible devices and drives a race car named Racecar. Having lost his parents mysteriously as a baby, he lives with his two peculiar aunts, FiFi and FooFoo. Otto enters a race with a one-million-dollar purse, but, the night before the event, Racecar is stolen by two exceptionally obtuse bad guys. They don't realize that Otto has loaded his car with an invention to defeat every deception imaginable. Perlman (yes, the comic actress of Cheers fame) breaks the novel into tiny, easy-to-digest bits (some of the 36 chapters are only a few words long), which offers the possibility of a fun read, especially for hard-to-motivate readers. Unfortunately, the humor, as well as the story, is mostly lame and repetitious, and Santat's cartoon illustrations add little to the mix. In the second book, Otto receives a secret message implying that if he travels to the Grand Canyon, he might obtain a clue to the whereabouts of his missing parents, so he and his aunts head west. Much silliness ensues involving a crook in a dress, aunts disguised as uncles, 10,000 sticks of dynamite, and a pet cockroach. Like the first novel, Canyon Catastrophe seems designed for reluctant readers, but the gags tend to repeat themselves, the humor involving palindromes and anagrams gets old fast, and the art is only adequate.-Walter Minkel, New York Public Library Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780060754952
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
12/27/2005
Series:
Otto Undercover Series , #1
Pages:
128
Product dimensions:
5.31(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.32(d)
Age Range:
9 - 12 Years

Meet the Author

Rhea Perlman is an actress, a mother, and a very bad singer. She mostly plays lousy bad guys like Matilda's mother in the movie Matilda and Carla the loudmouth waitress on Cheers. Her nicknames are Rhe Peeman, Pee Rheman, and Ritz Pritzle. She is the author of five other books in the Otto Undercover series.

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Born to Drive [With Sticker(s)] 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
My 2nd grade son read this book and the #2 book from Perlman in one afternoon. They are not short in length, but he enjoyed them so much he could not put them down! Highly recommended for boys!
Guest More than 1 year ago
`Otto Undercover¿ is incredibly fun and funny¿ We love Otto¿s irreverence, the larger-than-life world he inhabits and the clever wordplay that¿s always bubbling through the story. The wordplay makes the book educational without it ever seeming that way, but as much as you find yourself talking to your kids about anagrams and palindromes, you¿ll spend even more time laughing with them about Otto¿s zany aunts and his crazy adventures. This is a great book for the early independent reader or for sharing together. OUR FAMILY CAN¿T WAIT FOR THE REST OF THE SERIES!