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.
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“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)