cover image Otto: The Boy Who Loved Cars

Otto: The Boy Who Loved Cars

Kara LaReau, illus. by Scott Magoon. Roaring Brook/Porter, $15.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-59643-484-4

With his homonymic name, Otto might be forgiven for loving autos "above all places and things (and even most people)." More than his one-track racetrack mind, Otto's flaw is his self-centeredness. In his rush to his race car%E2%80%93festooned bedroom, he does not return his mother's hug, and at recess, he will play only car-themed games with his friends Chevy, Mini, and Kia. Despite his mother's admonition that "Everyone has to shift gears sometime," Otto remains unconvinced until he wakes up as a sporty red convertible. Nobody notices the change, yet he can only "honk" and "vroom." He drives to school amid traffic fumes, plays alone, and has to skip lunch. Back home, he sadly "ran out of gas and went to sleep." LaReau and Magoon (who previously collaborated on Ugly Fish) take aim at children focused on material goods (or other obsessions) over relationships; an undersize typeface and long explanations suggest this warning proved hard to distill. Overnight, Otto transforms into a considerate and grateful boy, providing a wishful, Pinocchio-like conclusion but minimal practical advice. Ages 2%E2%80%936. (Aug.)