Sunday, June 02, 2013

Middle Grade Monday--Otis Dooda

Don't forget-- the 8th Annual MotherReader 48 Hour Book Challenge starts THIS FRIDAY!!!

To participate, check in HERE on Friday morning for complete instructions and fill in the Mr. Linky with the URL of your Starting Line post. (For an example, go to last year's starting line at

Get those books lined up and get ready to read!

Otis Dooda: Strange but TruePotter, Ellen. Otis Dooda: Strange But True
4 June 2013,  Feiwel & Friends
Copy provided by the gracious Ellen Potter

Otis and his family move to New York City from a small town called Hog's Head and end up on the 35th floor of an apartment building that looks as if it is made of Legos. It has a nice doorman named Julius, but someone evil living in a potted plant in the lobby who claims that Otis will break all the bones in his body before the next full moon! Otis has enough other problems- his older brother, Gunther, is evil, his mother wants to sign him up for improbably activities like yoga, and his new best friend, Perry, has a pet miniature horse in the building he's trying to disguise as a dog, even though the animal's flatulence is enough to scare people out of the elevator. Perry's father runs a children's birthday party business that is less than successful (parents don't exactly get thrilled about the Potty Mobile!), and Otis helps out with that while his mother is running a dog training business and Otis is worrying about Potted Plant Guy. Like so many of the other things that are Strange But True, Otis' perceptions are much worse than reality, and in the end, the family settles into their new environment nicely.
Strengths: Potter has clearly talked to some actual 8-year-old boys to find out what they want to read. Since I don't see many of those, I had to think back to Surly Teen Boy's sense of humor at that age. Combined with the illustrations, this will be hugely popular in elementary school libraries everywhere! Filled with mild suspense, attack poodles, "bottom burps", and quirky parents, this will save many a third grade boy from suffering through reading time!
Weaknesses: A small town named Hog's Head? I detect a slight bias against people who do not make New York City their home! I'm not a fan of big cities, but if apartment buildings really are such good communities, cities can't be all that bad.

Here's the Otis Dooda trailer:

And this is an author/illustrator video:

It's Marvelous Middle Grade Monday at Ramblings of a Wannabe Scribe and What Are You Reading? day at Teach Mentor Texts. It's also Nonfiction Monday, hosted this week at The Jean Little Library.

Lipkowitz, Daniel . Lego Minifigures Character Encyclopedia
1 May 2013, Dorling Kindersley

A perfect nonfiction pairing with Otis would be this fun Lego Character encyclopedia.  I have this author's Lego Ideas Book, and some of the 6th graders check it out and really resent having to turn it in. I want to buy this one, as well as  LEGO Star Wars: The Visual Dictionary by Simon Beecroft and Jeremy Beckett and LEGO Harry Potter: Building the Magical World by Elizabeth Dowsett.

Only problem is the binding. I don't think I'll buy copies because they will last about three circulations before falling apart. Fun to read, though!


  1. Otis Dooda sounds hilarious. I suspect my younger son would have loved this to pieces (but he's now 23, so what can you do?).

    I'll have to pass on the 48-hr Book Challenge, as I'll be at NJ SCBWI, soaking up all the inspiration I can get.

  2. Sounds like something I will need to check out. My students would likely love the "bottom burps."

  3. Thanks for letting me know about the reading challenge this weekend! I need to check my calendar, but I'd love to do it!

  4. My sixth graders would love Otis Dooda...thank you!

  5. I can totally see the attraction to the story. Will definitely be suggesting this one to older kids!

  6. oh, I have never heard of Otis Dooda but I have loved Ellen Potter's other books! I must check it out!

  7. I am so sad not be able to participate in the 48 hour book challenge this year. But it makes me happy knowing that it's still taking place.

    Glad to see that we both thought well of Otis Dooda. I will definitely be taking your advice and keeping it around for when BB is old enough to appreciate it.

  8. Thanks, I hadn't heard of Otis Dooda yet! Just added it to my list :)

  9. I've got Otis on the radar, will be reading this summer for sure.

    See you Friday!

  10. My 8-year-old son and I just finished Otis Dooda. He raced through it in 2 days and thinks it is so funny! Thanks for your review!

    Mia at PragmaticMom

  11. Can non-librarians participate in the 48 hour book challenge?

    What time does it start on Friday?

  12. I hadn't heard of this one, but it sounds like I need to check it out. I'm debating trying the 48 hour book challenge, how fun to HAVE to read! :)


  13. I hadn't heard of Otis Dooda but it sounds like it'll be a great addition to the store for the kids who like Legos and like quirky funny books.