Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Otto Grows Down by Michael Sussman

Otto Grows Down by Michael Sussman, illustrated by Scott Magoon
Copyright 2009
Sterling Books - Children's (ages 4-8)
Publisher's website
Author's website

Another children's book! I know, I'm an unreformable "cute" addict. I can't help myself. Otto Grows Down is definitely a cute book, but it's also a wonderful story.

On Otto's 6th birthday, he blows out his birthday candles and makes a wish . . . that his new sister Anna had never been born. Time immediately begins to go backwards. After a week, the family returns Anna to the hospital, but that doesn't end the reversal of time. Instead, Otto goes to the barber to have his hair made longer. He unpaints a painting at kindergarten, brings in the trash on trash day and slides backwards up the slide.

Time just keeps going backwards for years and when he's put back into a diaper Otto realizes that if he can't find a way to stop his wish, he'll cease to exist just as Anna did. Finally, he gets his chance and wishes to be 6, again. Of course, he's thrilled to be back to normal. And, now, he really appreciates his baby sister.

Otto Grows Down has a lovely theme about acceptance but it's also quite funny. The illustrations are perfect -- cartoonishly bold and humorous. This would be a great book to prepare little ones for a new sibling or a fun book to read in class. When I wrote my review of Monkey Monkey Monkey, a teacher left a comment saying her class begs to have Otto Grows Down read to them every day. That's MJ -- MJ, I can't figure out if you have a blog or I'd link up to you.

In fact, I looked online and was only able to find one other blog review:

Two of a Kind, Working on a Full House

Let me know if you've reviewed this book and would like me to add a link. This is another one I had hoped to read to a group of children and I'm disappointed that I didn't get to hear a bunch of little ones giggling. I'm sure this book gets a great reaction and I highly recommend it to any and all parents, grandparents and teachers. It's easy to imagine this story becoming a timeless classic.

Just finished:

Ghost Cats of the South by Randy Russell - This one's a library check-out and I'm going to skip the full review, but I'd say the stories in Ghost Cats of the South could be classified as "legends", as opposed to true paranormal encounters -- great curl-up-by-the-fire stories that will scare your socks off.

Also recently finished:

Sometimes My Heart Pushes My Ribs by Ellen Kennedy (poetry), The Musician's Daughter by Susanne Dunlap (YA), As Shadows Fade by Colleen Gleason (paranormal historical romance) and Mrs. Meyer's Clean Home by Thelma Meyers (Non-fiction).

I'm not sure of the order in which I'll review these books, but whenever I get around to posting about As Shadows Fade, I'll be doing a giveaway for one of Colleen's books, again. So, hang around if you're in the mood to try to win a great escapist historical vampire novel! Back soon!


  1. Sure, sign me up for any vampire books. sigh

  2. I'll be interested to hear your thoughts on The Musician's Daughter, Nancy. I received a copy from the author a month or so ago and really want/need to get to it!

  3. That sounds like a really great kids's book, thanks for the review!

  4. Care,

    Hold on there, lady. You have to wait for the actual sign-up post. LOL But, I'll nudge you if you don't show up. :)


    It'll be a week or two before I post my review of The Musician's Daughter because Susanne has an April 1 deadline and I'm going to coordinate my review with the author. It's really good, though. I wish I'd thought to look her up at the library. I just returned from a library jaunt. Darn.


    It's wonderful. If I could make this book rain down upon homes everywhere, I would. :)

  5. I have too many library books to read right now. No trips for me for at least a month. :)

  6. Brittanie,

    I think I've shown admirable restraint at the library, recently. Actually, it's not too difficult since they seldom have what I'm looking for, but we'll just overlook that bit. I came home with a book of Stephen Kirkpatrick's photography in Madison, a couple of books for the kiddo and some random YA titles that looked fun. It's always fun to see which books I end up finding important enough to squeeze in. :)

  7. Otto Grows Down sounds like fun!

  8. Bybee,

    It's seriously fun.

  9. This sounds so darn cute! It's like a Curious Case of Benjamin Button for kids :p

    I'm looking at your sidebar and I'm envious of ALL of the books you're reading! Well, the first three at least :p I can't wait for Love Begins in Winter...the cover to The King with Horse's Ears makes it look fantastic...and I've been dying to read Who By Fire! I'll be looking forward to all of those reviews :)

  10. I'm always on the look-out for new kiddy lit for my classroom!
    I don't have a blog up yet...nothing but the name anyway!!!
    Does Ghost Cats include any from South Carolina?

  11. MJ,

    I probably should have been a kindergarten teacher because they do everything I like best -- look at pretty pictures, paint, sit in circles . . . :)

    I thought you'd just set up a blog without posting, but I wasn't certain. I sometimes try to go to a blog via the blogger's name link but because I'm set to view in small windows and it won't let me enlarge the window, I sometimes can't even see the URL. Frustrating.

    I do believe there was at least one story from South Carolina. It's a fun book, creepy but with enough flair that it made me think I could call the stories legend and tell myself to sleep.

  12. I've been teaching for almost 32 years and I still love it EVERYDAY!!!! It makes life fun.

  13. MJ,

    I'm sure your students can feel your happy vibes, too. They're very lucky!


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