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Otto Grows Down Hardcover – February 3, 2009


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 7 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 2
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Sterling (February 3, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1402747039
  • ISBN-13: 978-1402747038
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 10 x 11.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,690,605 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Otto is not happy about the arrival of his baby sister. At his sixth birthday party, he blows out the candles and wishes that Anna had never been born. Sure enough, time starts moving backward, and before long, his parents are heading to the hospital (happily, the scene of Anna being returned from whence she came isn’t depicted). Soon, however, Otto is regretting his wish, as he unpaints his drawing paper, brings the garbage inside on trash day, and finds “going to the bathroom . . . downright disgusting.” (This is demurely depicted with Otto on the toilet seat. Horrified.) Worst of all, however, is watching his birthdays roll back until he is just a baby. At the last possible moment, Otto figures out how to restart the clock. There’s lots of fun to be had with this Benjamin Button–like concept, and both words and pictures do a good job of mining it. The pen-and-paint artwork, with its bigheaded characters and use of strong shapes and colors, is eye-catching, while the be-careful-what-you-wish-for message comes through loud and clear. Preschool-Grade 1. --Ilene Cooper

Review

"The deadpan drollery of Magoon’s cartoon-style illustrations should appeal to adults as well as children, matching the quirkiness of Sussman’s premise.  Otto’s demonstrative lack of enthusiasm as he shakes his rattle for Anna is flat-out hilarious, and his growing consternation as he begins to live his life backward comes across loud and clear.  Genuine issue gracefully handled." --Kirkus Reviews

 

“Clinical psychologist Sussman's first book for children is spot-on in its success capturing the voice and emotions of the new older sibling.  . . . This book will entertain children whether or not they share Otto's experience, and would be a great choice for a bibliotherapeutic purpose as well.” --New England Reading Association Journal
 
"Along the way, the book hits just the right notes of childish frustration at a new sibling - sassy, not snotty. (Sussman is a clinical psychologist, which likely explains his eerily accurate mapping of Otto's id-urges.) And though the story ends up with Otto's newfound appreciation for Anna, it's a sweet ending rather than a saccharine one.” --Austin American-Statesman

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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See all 11 customer reviews
The illustrations were wonderful as well.
Karen Sivin
A cautionary tale with a happy ending, this is a wonderful book for older siblings of a new baby, or for any child who wishes he or she could take back a wish.
Susan C. Moynihan
Most kids with siblings will at some point develop feelings of resentment.
Brimful Curiosities

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Z Hayes HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 16, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Michael Sussman's first children's book is a humorous take on sibling rivalry and suitable for preschoolers and up. In the story, six-year-old Otto is celebrating his birthday when he gets upset at all the attention being given to his infant sister Anna. He wishes that she was never born and soon enough finds his wish coming true in the strangest manner - time moves backwards, and very soon, Anna is sent back to the hospital and Otto finds himself getting younger and younger. As he grows 'down', Otto begins to grow 'up' and learns the lesson of appreciating having a sibling. The story of Otto growing 'down' is told in a whimsical manner, and the full-color illustrations by Scott Magoon enhance the story, giving it a humorous angle that was appreciated by both me and my four-year-old preschooler. "Otto Grows Down" is a unique take on sibling rivalry and the concept of time moving backwards also makes for an interesting discussion point.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Karen Sivin on February 11, 2009
Format: Hardcover
My daughter and I both enjoyed reading this book together. We both thought it dealt with sibling rivalry in a funny and clever way. The illustrations were wonderful as well. We highly recommend it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Adroit Librarian on March 20, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Loved the story. It will be the perfect book to hand to a family who have a child and are expecting another.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Corrie Snell on March 7, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I've NEVER been tempted to review a children's book, until "Otto Grows Down." This book is creative and funny. Both kids and grownups will laugh out loud.
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Format: Hardcover
The birthday. The candles and cake. The WISH! Otto, on his sixth birthday, feels rather neglected. You see, one week earlier, he became a big brother. No longer the center of attention, Otto takes his birthday wish to heart and wishes his baby sister Anna was never born. In theory, you'd think a wish like that would set things like they were before. Not quite so, as Otto quickly learns. The wish makes time go backwards. Yes, Otto's parents take his sister back to the hospital. But backwards time doesn't stop there. Time continues to go in reverse. Otto, to his dismay, grows younger, smaller and more frantic as each former birthday passes and he desperately tries to set things right.

Some picture books are pure fluff. This book is not and that is a good thing. Otto Grows Down, the fascinating and funny children's book by Michael Sussman stretches the imagination. I can guarantee Sussman's book will make children think, particularly about jealousy and also the concept of time. Most kids with siblings will at some point develop feelings of resentment. Using humor, the book provides a good starting point for discussions with children about sibling rivalry. Otto feels awful about his wish and learns a valuable lesson, put best by the illustrator Magoon, "Otto grew up when he grew down."

Besides the sibling rivalry slant, the book is very clever in other ways as well. While talks about jealousy are helpful, my preschool daughter found the fantasy of time moving backwards most intriguing. Before reading the book to her, I must admit to wondering whether she would grasp the concept or get scared about time in reverse. After a little explanation she so totally got it and loved the pretend aspect. In fact, she wants to keep talking about time moving backwards.
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Format: Hardcover
Are four year old is adjusting to our new baby and finds it difficult. This book, although slightly dark, is about the selfish feelings caused by a new lack of parental attention and no desire to share. My son turns back to it over and over again for the great artwork and distinctive plot - time moving backwards. It reminds us that what we wish for may have very unfortunate outcomes. Each time my son has it read to him he ponder these ideas.
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