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Condition: Used: Good
Comment: Used in Worn Condition. No CD or Access Code. Ex-library books. Some Markings. Small tears and wear on corners and edges
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Otis Spofford Paperback – August 12, 2008

4.7 out of 5 stars 38 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 2-5-Otis Spofford's uncontrollable urge for mischief makes him a surprisingly contemporary third grader, despite the fact that this story was written by Beverly Cleary (Morrow, 1953) almost a half-century ago. The setting for most of the story is Otis' school, where his one-size-fits-all classroom teacher orchestrates the class lessons accompanied by Otis, the class clown. Cleary sums up Otis this way: "Except for learning things, Otis liked school." His goal in life seems to be to stir up excitement, which often backfires, until arch rival Ellen Tebbits teaches him the difference between good-natured teasing and bullying. The timeless appeal of this well-written story overshadows the infrequent references to dated details, like 20-cent school lunches, cloakrooms, and phonographs. Johnny Heller's clear, crisp voice is perfect for the story. As a comedian, Heller lends an element of levity to his reading. His acting skills are apparent as the story's characters take on subtly different voice inflections. Appropriate for classroom read-alongs, listening centers, and individual use, this entertaining audiobook would make a nice addition to any collection. Larger libraries will want to consider purchasing multiple copies.
Kirsten Martindale, Buford Academy, GA
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Audio Cassette edition.


“Mrs. Cleary writes from a sure knowledge of the third grader’s world. It all rings true.” (The New York Times)

“A really hilarious boy who is a classroom comedian, a show-off and a pest, but still very lovable.” (Publishers Weekly)

Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 2 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 720L (What's this?)
  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; Reissue edition (August 12, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0380709198
  • ISBN-13: 978-0380709199
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5.2 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #83,377 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on June 19, 2000
Format: Paperback
Otis Spofford is a boy just looking for a little excitement. To Otis excitement means upstaging a playacting toreador, shooting spitballs at classmates and even his teacher, sabotaging a class experiment, upstaging a friend while helping the local football hero, and especially chasing and teasing the very prim and proper Ellen Tebbitts. Otis' classmates and teacher warn him that someday he will get his comeuppance for his antics. When Otis takes his teasing of Ellen too far then his comeuppance finally happens.
Beverly Cleary's "Otis Spofford" was one of the funniest books I ever read. I particularly enjoyed Otis' comments on how "dopey" the characters in the books he had to read for school acted. Ms. Cleary obviously wrote "Otis Spofford" for children who felt the same way about reading as Otis did. Otis is no dope and non-readers will love him for it!
Some of Ms. Cleary's older books are sometimes dismissed as being "quaint" or out of date with their 50's settings and families (father works and mom stays at home.) "Otis Spofford" was written in 1961, but Otis has a single mother who owns her own business and they live in an apartment. In some ways Ms. Cleary was ahead of her time; but there is no denying that Otis is a wildboy of the 50's. "Otis Spofford" is an extremely readable and hilarious book featuring the wonderful drawings of illustrator Louis Darling. (I've always preferred Mr. Darling's idealized illustrations of very 50's looking children (the girls in dresses or rolled up pants with moptop hairstyles, the boys in canvas hightop sneakers and bristled haircuts) which are in Ms. Cleary's older books to the illustrations of her more recent books which make some of the characters look rather ugly- Ramona is so much cuter when drawn by Louis Darling than Alan Tiegrin.)
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By A Customer on January 24, 2000
Format: Paperback
My 4th grade elementary school teacher was an elderly woman entering the last years of a very long career. She was feared throughout the school as a very strict, no-nonsense diciplinarian. She was a teacher of the old school. She had mandatory oral book reports and woe to the student who was not ready.
She was fairly open as to what topic the books could be about; but she did not allow "war" books. Being a big military history buff even at age 10, this shrunk my preferences significantly. She did offer some recommendations on what was acceptable and prominent was the name of Beverly Cleary.
I went to the library and discovered quite a collection of Beverly Cleary books. I picked out "Henry Huggins" and took it home with me. I started to read it because I had to do a book report on something. As I read I began to enjoy it more and more. I found myself laughing at Henry's adventures. I was hooked. Every week I took out another Beverly Cleary book from the library. Henry, Ribsy, Beezus, and troublesome Ramona were the topics of most of my book reports. I would laugh while I gave my report and soon other students in my class were also reading Ms. Cleary's works.
"Otis Spofford" was different. Wheras Henry Huggins was just an average boy; Otis Spofford was a class clown and an instigator. Otis loved stirring the pot and sometimes his antics went too far. As a boy, I could not help but be enthralled by this wild kid. It is a very funny book.
Among my best friends in grade school were many of the "non-readers" of my class. These were the boys who dreaded being made to read out loud. The boys who never had a book report ready when it was their turn.
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Format: Paperback
I read this to my third grade class and they loved it. Every day we wanted to see what Otis was up to. He is so mischievious that some of the kids really relate, especially when Otis talks about how boring school is (I took no offense). My students couldn't believe the stuff he pulled on his teacher and this was written over 50 years ago! Our favorite was the hair cutting incident. They couldn't believe he actually cut a girl's hair.

If you liked this book I would recommend Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key, another story of a boy looking for some excitement. Enjoy!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Re-reading this book as an adult, I think this may be Beverly Cleary's most interesting piece of fiction. Most of Cleary's characters are ordinary kids (Henry, Beezus, Ellen) or unusually spunky but otherwise still ordinary kids (Ramona) who live in two-parent homes with yards. Otis, on the other hand, has a single mom, lives in an apartment, and has behavior issues. He's not a bad kid by any means, but he's impulsive, easily bored, and has a very hard time thinking through the long-term consequences of his actions. He's like a jack-in-the-box where all of Cleary's other protagonists are regular dolls. And yet, Cleary writes his character as masterfully as she does the "ordinary" children she usually writes about. She gets inside Otis's head to make the reader understand exactly why he behaves the way he does, to make it make sense, but you can also see, outside his head, why he irritates everyone all the time. I find myself feeling sorry for Otis because he would be happier if he did make progress in learning to think before he acts, which he never seems to do, not even when he finally gets his come-uppance.

Reading this book right after Mitch and Amy sparked a GREAT discussion with my child about the difference between a kid who's just being annoying (Otis Spofford) and a kid who's actually being a bully (Alan Hibbler).
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