Thursday, June 27, 2013

Otis Dooda Strange but True by Ellen Potter

I love Manhattan.  It is a magical city.  We went earlier in the month for a mini vacation filled with shopping and eating.  Waiting in line for a burger from the Shake Shack is so worth it!!! Walking through the neighborhoods I am still blown away by the density of people and everything that comes with that. 

Me in front of the Lego Store at Rockefeller Center
I love Lego.  It is a magical invention.  I played with it when I was a kid, and am amazed on all the choices today.  I really want the Death Star kit!!! In my classroom is large tub of the remaining Lego of my youth.  At the beginning of each year I explain that there aren’t figures etc., and each year students create the same type of things I did as a kid.  Kids use imagination regardless.

Anyhow, combine Manhattan and Lego into one book and you have me.  Otis Dooda Strange but True by Ellen Potter does just that.  Otis and his family have to move to New York because his dad has a new job.  At the start we are introduced to Otis’ family.  His brother refers to him as “Lego Nerd”.  Funny that reading that it is easy to figure out kids that fit that name!  Moving to New York means living in an apartment. 

Middle grade books that take place in apartment building are great because in a small space there are so many different types of characters.  This is true in Otis Dooda.  There is Julius the doorman (he is in control), the Plant Guy (more on him in a bit), Perry (soon to be best friend, and Cat (short for Cat Girl).  In one short week Otis makes friends, and experiences some strange situations.  I mean getting shot in to marshmallow fluff sound like fun!  The one thing that bothers everyone in the building is the Plant Guy. Someone is hiding behind the large plant in the lobby and expects payment to get by.  The three new friends decide they are going to figure out whom it is.  They plan and plan, and well you have to read the book to find out.

I enjoyed reading Otis Dooda.  I plan on getting a few copies to use in a guided group.  It is a fatter book then most books at a low third grade level.  This is good because kids will feel successful finishing a bigger book.  It will also be useful for discussing setting.

I want to thank Ellen Potter for sending me a copy.  I am sorry I couldn’t get it together to participate with your book tour.  Packing up to move schools was more emotional than I anticipated.