cover image Otis Dooda: Strange But True

Otis Dooda: Strange But True

Ellen Potter, illus. by David Heatley. Feiwel and Friends, $13.99 (240p) ISBN 978-1-250-01176-3

Potter (The Humming Room) and debut illustrator Heatley team up for a Wimpy Kid%E2%80%93style illustrated novel that follows the unfortunately named Otis Dooda and his family as they move from a "dinky little town" into an apartment on the 35th floor of Tidwell Towers in New York City. Otis's first days in New York are like something out of Twin Peaks: he's cursed by the "Potted Plant Guy" in the lobby (" %E2%80%98Before the next full moon,' the kid said in a voice that sounded like he needed to blow his nose, %E2%80%98you will break all your bones' "), a neighboring family keeps an eye-wateringly flatulent horse as a pet, and Otis is certain he sees zombies on the subway. Meanwhile, Otis's zit-picking older brother, Gunther, makes Rodrick Heffley look downright benevolent. Heatley strikes an apt balance between cartoony and creepy in his b&w artwork, and Potter has a firm handle on both Otis's self-effacing, drily funny voice and her audience's love of Legos, bizarre plot developments, and bountiful scatological humor. Ages 7%E2%80%9310. Agent: Alice Tasman, Jean V. Naggar Literary Agency. (June)