Ottoline and the Yellow Cat

Author/Illustrator: Chris Riddell

Ottoline lives in Apartment 243, P. W. Huffledink Tower, along with her best friend and caregiver, Mr. Munroe, a small, furry person from the bog-lands of Norway. Ottoline is a certified Mistress of Disguise and a true lover of mysteries, and when a string of missing lapdogs and catburglaries sweep her city, she takes notice. Putting all her skills of deduction and deception to work, Ottoline devises a plan to capture the burglar and restore order to her city.

I picked up Ottoline and the Yellow Cat on whim because the cover looked potentially interesting. Having read it, I have mixed feelings about it. It’s basically a children’s fantasy/mystery for middle-elementary readers. On the plus side, the characters are cute, the art is fun and kind of Dr. Seuss-like, and the conceptual layout of the art is engaging and original. On the negatives, Ottoline’s parents aren’t around much (that always bugs me when parents aren’t in the mix), the fantasy element is really random, and the art is so engaging and complex that I got drawn into it and lost my place in the text–it almost would have been better as a straight cartoon/graphic novel. Still, for a slightly off-the-wall children’s story, Ottoline and the Yellow Cat was better than the majority of the stuff I’ve seen for younger readers and I will likely introduce it to the younger readers of my acquaintance.

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