Age Range: 3 to 6
Otto The Book Bear is a lovely celebration of reading, writing, libraries, books and friendship.
The Story: Otto lives in a book and when nobody is around he comes to life. One day he is left alone when the owners of his house move and leave him behind. Otto packs his bag and goes in search of adventure but the streets are not very welcoming and he misses his book. Then Otto finds a library, meets Ernest, another book bear, and lots of other book creatures. Otto is delighted that he has found somewhere to read, write, make new friends and meet new readers.
Otto’s happiest times are when children read his book. He is firmly entrenched in the world of literacy, when he leaves his book he loves to read and practise his writing. We love the pictures of such a little bear sitting at a big typewriter, my daughter likes to read what he has written. We feel sad for Otto when he is left behind but he shows courage and bravery when he packs his bag, leaves his book and goes out all alone into the big, wide world. The people in the city don’t see little Otto, they’re too busy rushing about their business and the cat that Otto meets demonstrates her uncaring attitude with the wave of a paw. In comparison, the library has an open door and is warm and inviting with friendly and welcoming inhabitants.
The text is simple and easy to read, the book is especially good for beginner readers. Katie Cleminson’s illustrations effectively portray Otto’s emotions both in his expressions and the situations that he is in. As readers we feel Otto’s loneliness as he sits in an overturned paper cup but we also share his joy when he finds the library and all the wonders that it holds. My daughter’s favourite picture shows the book creatures enjoying books in the library, her favourite creature is the cape wearing crocodile who is fencing with a dog!
This is a lovely story to stimulate a discussion about children’s favourite book characters and what children think that they get up to when nobody else is looking! It could stimulate a whole new story writing session with older children and hopefully a trip to the library for children to discover more new books and characters.
We love the fact that Otto The Book Bear portrays such an enjoyment of reading and writing, something that we are passionate about here too!
Author / Illustrator: Katie Cleminson