Otto: A Palindrama

Jon Agee. Dial, $17.99 (144p) ISBN 978-0-8037-4162-1
Agee’s (I Want a Dog) graphic novel fantasy adventure is written entirely in 200 palindromes created by himself and “a variety of sources”—from the names of white-skinned protagonist Otto and his little dog Pip, to a billboard advertising Lion Rock Corn Oil, to the passerby who remarks “No jazz. I prefer pizza, Jon.” The offbeat story launches when his father’s hypnotic-looking soup (“Nosh, son!”) causes Otto to imagine that he and his family have been transported to a dreamlike world largely populated by toys from his bedroom come to life. When Pip runs away, Otto pursues on a trek filled with incident—and undeniably inventive palindromes—until Otto’s roused from his dining room daydream. Otto is more wandering tabula rasa than lead player, and the paneled, muted-palette drawings feel very much in service to the what-will-they-come-up-with-next wordplay. But the concept fulfills its offbeat premise in sequences that gleefully underline the fun of a good palindrome, and the joy of finding wordplay wherever one looks—whether Otto’s visiting an art “mueseum” (“Koons nook”) or wandering through a cemetery (“Del was awled”), the results are supremely strange and funny. Ages 9–12. Agent: Holly McGhee, Pippin Properties. (Oct.)
Reviewed on : 07/01/2021
Release date: 10/19/2021
Genre: Children's
Paperback - 144 pages - 978-0-14-751349-6
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