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Otto the Book Bear


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Have you ever met a Book Bear, a bear who lives in a book? Prepare to fall in love with Otto, the Book Bear who needs to find a new home...

About the Author

Katie Cleminson studied Illustration for Children's Publishing at North Wales School of Art; she graduated in 2007 with a First Class Honours degree. Katie's work has been exhibited in London, Poland, Italy, Japan and Korea.


This is the metastory of Otto, a bear who lives in a book that sits on a shelf in a home library. "[H]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.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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 (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

With colourful, bold-line illustrations, this is a charming story for age three and up -- Mary Arrigan * Irish Examiner *
The thickly inked illustrations surrounded by lots of white space have an uncluttered, simple look that is appropriate for young readers . . . A sweet tale -- Martha Simpson * School Library Journal *
Cleminson, selected as one of Booktrust's Best New Illustrators for her lovely, inky line, subtle sense of colour and child-friendly playfulness, has produced an ideal story for communicating the magic of reading -- Nicolette Jones * The Sunday Times *
Katie captured the judges' imagination with her dreamy illustrations * Guardian *
There's something genially old-fashioned about it all. Otto endures hardship and adventure (including the brush-off he receives from a pair of alley cats) as he flees his old existence and finds new sources of companionship. In this case, the animal adrift ends up with fellow story characters as well as with human readers, who, as they will in real life too, want to keep Otto around -- Pamela Paul * The New York Times *

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