Monday, December 21, 2009

Otto Grows Down


I love to read. I've always loved to read. For me, there was always something magical about words printed on a page. Reading was a like a secret I couldn't wait to figure out.

Every single day I try to figure out a way to instill my love of words into Jack and Mia. We read together a lot and as a result we have hundreds of picture books. Some of them are great...some are not. Most of them don't have a lot going on in the plot department. I love Goodnight Moon and Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do you See? as much as the next mom, but I know them by heart and occasionally they make me want to gouge my eyes out.

Lucky for me, a friend gave us a copy of Otto Grows Down by Michael Sussman, a story about a 6-year-old boy who wishes his new baby sister Anna had never been born. The good news is that his wish comes true, the bad news is that the his days suddenly start moving in reverse.

When we all sat down to read it together for the first time I was surprised to catch myself rushing through the book so I could find out what happens next. Newsflash: This is a picture book with a plot! I honestly had no idea how Sussman was going to resolve Otto's predicament.

Jack and Mia enjoyed the book as much as I did. Mia insists on reading it every single night and she gives Otto and Anna a kiss before she goes to bed. Girl after my own heart.

Jack is a tougher sell in general when it comes to books. He's known to get fidgety and one time when we were reading Green Eggs and Ham he kept putting his feet in my face. I never thought I'd have to say the words, "Do not make me use this copy of Green Eggs and Ham to remove your left foot from my cheek because I assure you it won't be pleasant for you or your toes." They just don't teach you this stuff in those dumb birthing classes.

Anyways, Jack fell in love with Otto. I think he could relate to him wanting to get rid of his sister and he was fascinated by him getting younger and time going backwards. The morning after we read it for the first time I caught him trying to read it to himself. He was very engaged in this book and it has lead me to think more carefully about the books we read together. I think he's definitely ready for books with a little more substance.

I highly recommend this book to anyone with young children, particularly those of you expecting a new brother or sister or those of you with a pair of siblings who don't always get along well.

In fact, we liked this book so much that we'd love to share it with one of our lucky readers! All you have to do to enter is leave a comment in this post with the title of your favorite picture book. We'll leave the comments open for the week and will announce our winner on Monday December 28th. Good luck!

41 comments:

Ian said...

Dr. Suess's "Put me in the Zoo" is/was/and still is my all time favorite book. My three year old son loves it as well.

Katie said...

you've convinced me! Sounds adorable!

Karen said...

I love Otto Grows Down! Favorite line..."And going to the bathroom was downright disgusting." (but, oh, you're killing me asking me to pick a favorite).

All-time--Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst

Current--Duck Skates by Lynne Berry

Pea's Vote--Cha Cha Chimps by Julia Durango

Hardygirl said...

I want! I want!!

And, Goodnight Moon totally makes me want to gouge my eyes out, and I actually remember feeling the same way as a child. I hid it in the bottom of our kitchen garbage can so I wouldn't have to hear it anymore.

It is amazing how many picture books get away with not having a plot (as cute as the Olivia books are, I think they're that way, too). But, isn't it fun to find one that hits the mark!!

sf

jdcoughlin said...

My little ones are big ones, but I also loved the Dr. Suess. He was so fun to read, over and over. Which is what you do with your kids, same book until your head is going to fall off and then, and only then, do they pick another. Glad there's another one out there for us to enjoy!

Kristi Faith said...

The Giving Tree, Shel Silverstein

Always will be my favorite, as a child and now as an adult. There are so many layers to uncover.

Otto grows down looks great!

Nisa said...

A picture book with a plot? I'm sure that's on oxymoron. J/K. That sounds like a wonderful story!

Kerri C at CK Farm said...

Feet in your face with Green Eggs and Ham not in my house lol! I have read that one so much that I find my self making up my own versus for my kids lol!
"What! You will eat your cereal or you will go in a box with a fox!"
"Or I could always send you on a train in the rain."

Hey got the kids to try new food too! If cat in the hat can eat green eggs and ham you can try your beans.

Otto sounds like your typical sibling lol. Have not read that one with the kiddies yet.

Rachele Alpine said...

I have two...is that allowed???

"Where the Wild Things Are" is my hands down favorite, but my mom used to read "The Runaway Bunny" with me, so I'm partial to the memories of listening to her reading it over and over again. I loved that mama bunny who was willing to go anywhere for her child!

Melissa said...

The Little Match Girl by Hans Christian Anderson, hands down. It always made me so sad when I was little, but it really is a beautiful and poignant little story :)

Kristen Torres-Toro said...

This book sounds great, Lisa and Laura! I'll remember it for a possible gift for my friends with kids!

Patti said...

I knew Dr. Seuss' ABC by heart.

Camel on the Ceiling C C C.

This sounds like a good book and I agree it's nice to have a picture book with a plot.

Alissa said...

I'm a former children's librarian, and I still get my "fix" by volunteering to do a library storytime once a month so it's next to impossible for me to pick a favorite picture book. I love Dav Pilkey's picture books (there's not enough of them!) and Helen Lester. Then there are my childhood favorites: The Church Mice series by Graham Oakley - these British books are out of print, but if they have any at your local library, borrow them and be prepared to laugh right along with your kids.

Christina Lee said...

Oh I've been wondering about this one!! We like waht I consider the "older" Dr. Seuss' like Sneetches and Horton Lays an Egg and Teh Lorax (which actually is rather depressing). But also the "Diary of" books (of a fly, spider, worm...)and I cannot remember the author right now-darn!

Jenn (Books At Midnight) said...

Great review! I can also definitely relate to wishing my sister was never born (haha, sorry), and I wouldn't know how to solve that particular predicament either! It's like Benjamin Button. ;)
I didn't really have ONE favorite story, though I LOVED my fairytale collection and it had some beautiful pictures!

Carolina Valdez Miller said...

What a great book! Thank you for the recommendation.

My favorite picture book ever is probably -Love You Forever- by Robert Munsch. Makes me cry every time.

By the way, would love to have you guys for my character interviews series. If you're interested, shoot me an e-mail at cvaldezmiller AT gmail DOT com, and I'll send you details! It would be my pleasure and honor.

storyqueen said...

Favorite picture book? (Aside from my own, of course....)

Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse by Kevin Henkes. I would marry Kevin Henkes if I weren't already married...giving Kevin no say in the matter whatsoever.

He soooo understands kids...and grownups who want to understand kids.

Love him!

Shelley

T. Anne said...

Yes, I've heard of this book. I totally want it! Of course I have so many memories of reading Goodnight Moon to my kids and I still have the chewed up copy so I must vote for that most easy read. ;)

Sara ♥ said...

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs!!!

Or

The Velveteen Rabbit

Or

The Golden Egg Book

I CAN'T DECIDE!!!

Jemi Fraser said...

My kids loved Robert Munsch, but the all time fave was Jillian Jiggs by Phoebe Gilman. So much fun!

Shannon Messenger said...

Sounds like an awesome book--thanks for the tip. I don't have kids, but I have a niece who I'm *trying* to turn into a reader so this might be just the thing.

As far as favorite picture books, I loved anything by Bill Peet as a kid--but I don't know if those count because they have more words than traditional picture books (which is why I loved them, even as a kid I wanted words and story). And the illustrations are AWESOME. Bill Peet worked as a Disney artist before writing his own books, so you can imagine the artistic quality. The one I remember the most is "The Whingdingdilly" but "Farewell to Shady Glade" and "How Droofus the Dragon Lost His Head" are close seconds.

Stephanie Thornton said...

I love reading On the Night You Were Born with my daughter. The pictures are beautiful and she likes all the animals. Her newest favorite is The Lorax by Dr. Seuss. I had never read it when I was little, but I like the message and the way it rolls off the tongue.

Kids books are fun!

Kimberly Franklin said...

Looks like an adorable choice for the little ones! : )

Kim said...

I love Otto Grows Down too. Right now, our 3 favorite books around here are:

1) Harry and Horsie (I think I love it a little more than the Little Ballerina, though)

2) Hush, Little Dragon (LB makes me read this one over and over and I actually enjoy it every time)

3) Lily and the Purple Plastic Purse - (LB will always choose this story, but it's a long one so I always try to hide it)

Solvang Sherrie said...

Sounds like a cute story! I have several picture books that I adore. "Pinkalicious" is just so clever and "Ms. Rubenstein's Beauty" has a great twist at the end. "Let's Call Him Lau-Wili-Wili-Humu-Humu-Nukunukai-Apuaa-Oioi" always makes me smile and I laugh out loud when I read "Minnie and Moo Go to the Moon."

I should probably stop...

Dara said...

My sister and I loved "The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales." They were parodies of famous fairy tales and they were hysterical.

Now I need to read that book again. It's been years since I've read it.

Simon C. Larter said...

Yeah, what's with Goodnight Moon? How did Margaret Wise Brown enter the canon of picture book authors? She's weird, man! Sometimes that junk just doesn't make sense...

Fave picture book: Dr. Seuss's The Lorax... environmentalism for kiddies! Let the brainwashing begin. Mwahahahaha *cough, cough*

Rebecca Knight said...

You've actually won a book over at *my* blog! The tables have been turned! Mwahahahahahahaha.

But, seriously, you totally did.

Please email me w/ your address, and I'll mail you your prize! :) Merry Christmas!

ann foxlee said...

I'm pretty sure my all time favorite is "Go Dog, Go".
Even as a kid I LOVED dogs, and they thought of a dog party on top of a tree with a poodle in a fancy hat... God how I wanted it to be true!!

Daisy Whitney said...

Aww....sounds like a sweet book! All time fave is In the NIght Kitchen

ChristaCarol said...

Oh, how awesome! What a great premise, too. My eldest (4) loves her new sister. But she's about to start walking, and I have a feeling this may change lol.

Merry Christmas!

Lisa Desrochers said...

Not entering, but if you're dying for this book and want another chance to win it my agent, Suzie Townsend, is giving one away on her blog as well.

http://confessionsofawanderingheart.blogspot.com

Little Ms J said...

I loved Lyle the Crocodile and Amelia Bedelia, but I was old enough to read them to myself. Right now my nieces and nephews are all about books with diggers and tractors, 1, 2, 3 teddy bears and the mean number 4. THAT makes me want to gouge my eyes out.

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Where the Wild Things Are.
And I so don't believe you didn't tell us how the dilemma was resolved!

Southern Princess said...

CUTE story!

Okay... The Velveteen Rabbit

I don't have children or nieces & nephews in the appropriate age range - so please if the randomizer chooses me go with a second choice who can share it with someone.

No matter what though - it sounds adorable!!! My nieces and nephews have outgrown some of the best books. I love to peruse the ones that I read as a child whenever I go home to my parents' house!

Danyelle said...

This sounds like a wonderful book! *makes note of it* My favorite is The Baby Unicorn. It has both a plot and beautiful illustrations. I also love anything by Mercer Mayer. :D

lexcade said...

pokey little puppy. hands down.

i credit that with my overwhelming love of dogs. the whole "lost puppy" thing has led to the adoptions of a lot of strays...

that does sound like a cute book. maybe someday when i have kids, i'll read that to them...

ElanaJ said...

This sounds amazing. I used to read a lot of picture books to my elementary school classes. Now that I'm in the lab, I don't do that.

My favorite one is The Sneetches by Dr. Suess. Reminds me that I'm not different from anyone else, and they're not different from me.

Mitzi H. said...

I have a granddaughter that just turned 2 today and we are hoping for a new brother/sister this next year. This looks like a wonderful book for us to enjoy together.

Merry Christmas to Everyone!!!

Meghan Ward said...

As a mother of a two-year-old and a newborn baby, this book sounds perfect for us. Thanks for sharing this!

Kristin said...

You're killing me here. One is next to impossible, but I'll pick some recent favorites:

Night Lights by Susan Gal
Harry and Horsie by Kaite Van Camp

Best Overall: The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith