Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Ottoline Goes to School (Ottoline #2) by Chris Riddell

This book has 170 pages but took me 30 minutes to read because about half of it is filled with gorgeous illustrations. Good for grades 2-4, the story is about Ottoline Brown whose rich parents gallivant across continents as Collectors. We don't know what they are collecting but they correspond with Ottoline through letters while servants take care of her and she spends time with her best friend, Munroe, a hairy creature that looks like a cross between "The Lorax" and "Cousin It." When Ottoline meets Cecily Forbes-Lawrence III she is starstruck by her tea-sipping skills and pony, Mumbles. The two become friends and Ottoline enrolls in the same boarding school as Cecily. When the place seems haunted, Ottoline uses some investigative skills to find out just what is happening. 

The story is a bit predictable and Ottoline doesn't have any internal changes so she is kind of boring, but I really liked the pictures and Munroe who learns to deal with being replaced by Cecily. It can be hard for some students to make friends and this deals with what it feels like to be left out when a new person enters an existing friendship. Munroe is not treated nicely by Cecily. She calls him a dog and treats him as a second-class citizen. Ottoline is just sweet to everyone and understands that Cecily is lonely and sad because her parents don't give her the time of day. I thought the ending was wrapped up too quickly and the implied perpetrator of the "curses" not explained well enough for young readers. I do think students will like the story and it will be interesting having some discussions regarding the plot and what they understand. A good addition to your library and nice book for transitional readers such as "The Stories Julian Tells."

3 Smileys

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