By Chris Riddell (Macmillan)
A new Ottoline is cause for celebration. In this latest adventure of Ottoline and her hairy side-kick Mr Munroe, Ottoline is throwing a dinner party and she’s invited all sorts of old and new friends. The guest of honour is Mr Fox who takes her on an ‘urban safari’ to meet all the other unnoticed animals in the city. There’s a love story thrown in and plenty of odd and interesting characters.
Children love the Ottoline series – all about a quirky young girl who loves collecting odd shoes, writing notes about anything and everything and going on wild adventures. Ottoline is left largely alone while her parents travel round the world collecting things. (A recurring fantasy at this age – being independent and in charge!) She lives in an apartment with her best friend and guardian Mr Monroe – a funny looking Dr Seuss-inspired ‘thing’ with lots of hair who rarely says anything.
Ottoline’s adventures revolve around solving mysteries – the more bizarre the better. Chris Riddell, who also teams up with Paul Stewart for the very successful Edge Chronicles, tells his tales with a combination of text and pen and ink illustrations. They add a depth and humour that makes this a refreshingly original read. The illustrations are also great for reluctant Grade 2 -3 readers who need to tackle larger books, although the vocabulary may prove challenging for younger readers.