cover image Otto the Ornament

Otto the Ornament

Troy Cummings. Random House, $12.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-593-48120-2

A braggadocio Christmas ornament finds its branch in this tale of humility and holiday heart. It’s December 23, and all is calm and bright for a tree trimmed with well-loved treasures. But things shift into high gear when shiny new ornament Otto bursts out of a rush-delivery box ready to “BEDECK THE HECK OUT OF YOUR TREE!” Though the established ornaments extend Otto a warm welcome, the newcomer deems their offer of a spot on a middle branch a grave insult: “But a superstar like me belongs on the top of the tree.... I’m snazzy! I’m jazzy! I’m Christmas-pizzazzy!” When the ornaments demur, Otto’s quest to find a tree of his own turns into a journey of emotional generosity and literal self-reflection that leads him back to where he started—newly cracked, humbled, and smiling. Running throughout the playful prose is Cummings’s thorough accounting of seasonal exclamations (“Aw, chestnuts,” “O holy night”), while the digital art’s stylized, retro aesthetic provides both zingy and gentle notes. Ages 3–7. (Sept.)