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Otto's Trunk
     

Otto's Trunk

by Sandy Turner
 

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Poor Otto. All he wants to do is fit in with the rest of the elephants in the school yard, but all the herd wants to do is make fun of his trunk. And try as he may, Otto can't find any way to improve his appearance. It seems as though he'll be picked on forever. That is, until one Friday morning, when everything changes. . . .

This inspired picture book from

Overview

Poor Otto. All he wants to do is fit in with the rest of the elephants in the school yard, but all the herd wants to do is make fun of his trunk. And try as he may, Otto can't find any way to improve his appearance. It seems as though he'll be picked on forever. That is, until one Friday morning, when everything changes. . . .

This inspired picture book from acclaimed author and artist Sandy Turner brings a distinctive wit and charm to a classic concept. otto's trunk is a story for everyone who feels like they don't fit in, and about finding the sometimes hidden qualities that make each of us — even the elephants — unique and special.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Freud would have a field day with this story of a young elephant who is teased for his "teeny-weeny" trunk. On the playground, Otto shrinks from his peers, whose echoing "ha ha has" and word-balloon insults ("squirt!," "ain't it small!") follow him everywhere. He tries various trunk-lengthening schemes, such as stretching his schnoz with a barbell, and he looks admiringly at his couch-potato father, who uses his own magnificent appendage for shoving pizza into his mouth. "I want one just like my dad's," says Otto, as his dismayed mother covers her eyes and insists, "No, no, no." Otto never talks back to his foes, but one day he lets out a sudden snort. This startling exhalation "hissed, hogged, mooed, and cock-a-doodle-dooed," and Otto's classmates, in an immediate, unbelievable reversal, begin praising his talent for animal noises. As with his previous books (Silent Night; Grow Up), Turner draws in ordinary lead and colored pencils on brown grocery paper, mimicking the ingenuous cartoons from a child's notebook. He retraces and smears the lines for a studied naivet . Otto's trunk varies from one portrait to another, and at times does not appear so different from his peers'-which suggests that it is his timidity that makes him a target. Yet the focus is on physical size and, indirectly, taboos. This volume may arch a few adult eyebrows and produce some knowing winks, but offers little advice to youngsters who feel they don't measure up. Ages 4-8. (Aug.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2-This charmless story of a late-blooming elephant with a tiny trunk falls hopelessly flat. Every day for a week, Otto endures the mean-spirited ridicule and ostracism of his classmates. He tries a variety of trunk-lengthening exercises to no avail; his parents are no help either. Relief finally arrives on Friday, when Otto's disappointing trunk unexpectedly produces some surprisingly impressive snorts, and by Saturday, he sprouts a pair of tusks to boot. Childlike illustrations feature rough patches of color against an otherwise monochromatic, paper-bag brown background. Turner's narrative features comic-book style captions and speech bubbles to help flesh out the dialogue. While Otto cuts an engaging figure, the story as a whole leaves a lot to be desired.-Catherine Threadgill, Charleston County Public Library, SC Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Otto, the elephant, is teased continuously at school for his small size and underdeveloped trunk. He unsuccessfully tries a variety of ways to help it grow, stretching and exercising it, ending up with nothing more than a sore trunk. Reassurances from Mother that he is cute and blessed are unhelpful. By week's end, Otto reacts to his classmates' hoots and laughs with anger, boisterously snorting and making sounds that resemble a roaring lion, a hissing snake, grunts of a hog, a cow mooing, and the uproarious cock-a-doodle-doos of a rooster. This surprise behavior is so impressive his teasing peers view him differently and notice that Otto is the only elephant already growing beautiful ivory tusks. Classic themes of belonging and acceptance are coupled with self-esteem and individuality told through a mixture of narration and balloon dialogue interspersed in very average almost amateurish style crayon-and-pencil art drawn on brown butcher-type paper. An overcharged solution to a school or playground problem. (Picture book. 4-6)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780060009571
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
08/12/2003
Pages:
32
Product dimensions:
8.00(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.25(d)
Age Range:
5 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

Sandy Turner collects junk. Sandy Turner has a dog. Sandy Turner's five foot eight, got brown eyes, and is the author of three books: Grow Up, Otto's Trunk, and Silent Night. Sandy Turner won a prize for silent night, the Ragazzi Award in Italy. He didn't win the Turner Prize. Sandy Turner says, "Only real artists win that."

Sandy Turner collects junk. Sandy Turner has a dog. Sandy Turner's five foot eight, got brown eyes, and is the author of three books: Grow Up, Otto's Trunk, and Silent Night. Sandy Turner won a prize for silent night, the Ragazzi Award in Italy. He didn't win the Turner Prize. Sandy Turner says, "Only real artists win that."

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