Otto the Book Bear: The StoryOtto is a book bear. He lives in a children's book in a house with children and is "happiest when children read his book." But what the children don't know is that when no one is there to see, Otto comes to life, walks right out of his book and has fun exploring the house, reading other books and doing his own writing on the family's old typewriter.
Everything changes when the family packs up all of their things, including Otto's book, and moves away while Otto is not in his book, leaving him all alone in an empty house. That doesn't suit Otto, so after making a plan and packing a bag, he's off seeking adventure.
However, the outside world is crowded with people and Otto, who is a little book-size bear, is overwhelmed. He searches all over the city for a new home but he doesn't feel welcome anywhere. Otto is getting discouraged, but he keeps looking until he finds the perfect place - a library! There he discovers lots of books, a book bear named Ernest and lots of other book creatures. Not only do they all have fun together but, best of all, at the library there are lots of children to read about Otto, making him "the happiest book bear of all."
Otto the Book Bear: The IllustrationsOtto is a most appealing creature and Katie Cleminson's illustrations provide an affectionate look at Otto who looks more like a very small stuffed toy than a real bear. The artist makes good use of white space to focus the reader's attention on what's most important. We first meet Otto when he is sitting in his book. It is fun then to see him as he climbs out of the book, a three-dimensional bear who moves with grace as he explores his surroundings.
Cleminson's double-page illustration showing what Otto finds when he goes out looking for a new home - people and more people rushing through the city - arouse our sympathy for the little bear who looks tiny in comparison. Otto looks so lonely as he walks through the rainy city, and our sympathy is further aroused when we see Otto taking refuge in an empty tin can, surrounded by litter. When Otto finally discovers the library and all of the joys it has to offer, we feel joy right along with Otto, and much of that is the result of Cleminson's illustrations.
Author and Illustrator Katie CleminsonKatie Cleminson lives in the UK where her children's books are published by Jonathon Cape, an Imprint of Random House Children's Books. Otto the Book Bear was first published by Jonathan Cape before being published in the U.S. by Disney Hyperion Books, an imprint of Disney Book Group.
Cleminson graduated from North Wales School of Art with honors in Illustration for Children's Publishing. In 2009, she won the Booktrust Best Emerging Illustrator Award for her picture book Box of Tricks and in 2011 was honored as one of the Booktrust Best New Illustrators for the year. Cleminson is also the author and illustrator of the picture book Wake Up! It's going to be a busy day..., which is titled Cuddle Up, Good Night in the United States. (Sources: Katie Cleminson Web site, Playing by the Book Interview with Katie Cleminson)