Reviews for Otto the Book Bear

Booklist Reviews 2012 January #1
Otto the bear lives in a book, and he is happiest when performing his literary role for the young readers of the house. But when his story is placed back on the shelf, the adventuresome bear, in a whimsical stroke of metafiction, likes to climb out of its pages and go exploring. The trouble starts when the family moves away and inadvertently leaves Otto's book behind. In a refreshing twist on this familiar trope, resilient Otto packs his book bag and heads out to find himself a new home. After a tough time in the bustling, indifferent city, the ursine little fellow stumbles upon a place "full of light and hope. You guessed it--the library. Spacious white backgrounds put the book's winsome art deservedly front and center and highlight its distinctive black outlines and soft washes of color and shading. The unadorned text fits nicely with Cleminson's varied compositions. A charming, gentle celebration of books and libraries. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2012 Fall
Otto the book bear is able to leave the pages of his home and explore. But when his book disappears (the family moves), Otto is thrown into the cold world to find another place to live. He finds a home in the library--and warm companionship with other book characters. The endearing illustrations successfully convey the story s emotional ups and downs.

Kirkus Reviews 2011 December #1
Otto usually lives as an illustration of a book, but when no one is looking, he comes to life. All is usually well when Otto explores the houseā€”he can read other books, poke about the house and even type out a story on the typewriter. But when the bookshelf is cleared and the books placed in boxes ominously marked "ship to," little Otto is separated from his book and must go out into the world alone. Drawing with ink-filled pipettes and watercolor against extensive white space, Cleminson's emotional illustrations show just how lonely and tiny Otto is out in the world. On the inside, he is a comfortable, confident size, but out in the world, he is nearly lost in urban hubbub. Young readers will enjoy locating the tiny Otto and will identify with his fear and worry, especially when he is forced to take refuge in the darkness of a coffee cup, alongside an apple core. It's only when he finds himself with books again, in the library, that Otto feels truly at home, with other "book creatures just like him." Book creatures of all ages will love Otto and will enjoy wondering if any other of their books' characters have a secret life. A delight. (Picture book. 4-8) Copyright Kirkus 2011 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2011 October #5

This is the metastory of Otto, a bear who lives in a book that sits on a shelf in a home library. "e was at his happiest when children read his book," writes Cleminson (Magic Box), but he also delights in those times when he magically (and secretly) escapes the confines of the book to explore the house and even work on some writing of his own. Otto doesn't become the size of a real bear, however: he remains book-sized. And that's a serious drawback when circumstances force him out into the big, bustling world. But a happy ending awaits the indomitable Otto, one that should gladden the hearts of anyone who's a fan of the public library--or as Cleminson so beautifully describes it, "a place that looked full of light and hope." Cleminson is one of the latest in a long line of British storytellers who excel at being brisk and businesslike on the outside and deeply empathic on the inside. Her drawings, which combine a bold ink line with subtle yet radiant color, are as pointed and poignant as her prose. Ages 3-7. (Jan.)

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School Library Journal Reviews 2012 February

PreS-Gr 2--Otto resides in a picture book, and he is happiest when it is being read. But when no one is looking, the bear comes alive and enjoys exploring the house. Then his family moves away and the book is left behind, so he ventures outside to search the city for a new home. Tiny among the giant people on the street and missing his warm book, he feels downhearted until he sees a grand building full of light and hope--a library. There, he is befriended by other book creatures and, best of all, finds new readers. The thickly inked illustrations surrounded by lots of white space have an uncluttered, simple look that is appropriate for young readers. Although no specific time is indicated, the appearance of a gramophone, dial phone, and manual typewriters places the story in a bygone era. Otto does not change size when he steps out of his book, but his small stature is not an issue when he is comfortably at home. However, the outside world seems daunting and lonely, giving the story an emotional impact. A sweet tale.--Martha Simpson, Stratford Library Association, CT

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