“Otto” was love at first sight and reading and it’s on our daily core reading list. “Otto Blotter bird spotter” by Graham Carter is a book I came across through the review of one of the instagram mommies and it drew my attention because it features bird spotters, a relatively uncommon theme, I find. It is a lovely story, with a fantastic element to it, and little gosling is so excited and happy throughout.
It is a different and attractive story about exploration and discovery built around the idea of a lonely kid, yearning for a friend. I love the illustrations, so many details; the choice of colours is fantastic, lots of orange and turquoise; so novel and original. They add so much to the story…However, don’t read it in a dark place, some pages may be hard to decipher without proper lighting.
Little Otto comes from a family of bird spotters, but he’s more of an outdoor explorer. In one of his adventures, he comes across an unusual little bird that he sneaks into his room and hence befriends. The bird grows up to be huge, but can camouflage itself into the surroundings, which helps them enjoy their friendship without any intrusions or interruptions, until the day when Bird starts missing her family. Otto enlists the help of his expert family to find them. Bird has one more gift: it glows, which is how finally she reunites with her family and in the process, brings Otto closer to his family and turns him into a bird spotter.
Little gosling loves Otto and “birdie”, as he likes birds and tiny things :). He laughs heartily at the massive pile of poo Otto finds before discovering Bird. He is curious at the idea of Bird growing bigger and observes carefully as she outgrows a shoebox, a birdie house and a tent. He loves it when Otto washes Bird in the sink. So much so that the other day he received the softest hedgehog from his aunt, one that you heat in the microwave and smells like lavender to help baby sleep; first thing he did, after kissing and hugging it, was take it to the bathroom and wash it in the sink….:))) He is sad when Bird is sad; excitedly attempts to say “family” alongside Bird (“fum-ee; faam-ee; faaam-leee; family!”), between giggles and is happy when Bird reunites with her family. He waves goodbye when she leaves (“pa pa Bird, see you ‘morrow, come back again!”). And he now knows what bird spotters and binoculars are.
There’s a lot for kids to learn from it: beauty of exploration, satisfaction of (even the smallest) discoveries; outdoor adventures; happiness drawn from friendship, even with the smallest creature, and taking care of them; importance of family; importance of taking responsibility and righting a wrong.