Big City Otto: Elephants Never Forget
Bill Slavin and Esperanca Melo
Illustrated by Bill Slavin
For ages 8 to 12
Kids Can Press, 2011, 978-1-55453-476-0
Otto is an elephant who has never quite got over the loss of his best friend, Georgie the chimp. Otto was orphaned when he was still very little, and Georgie’s family took him in and raised him as one of their own. Naturally, the elephant and the chimp grew very close.
Some time ago Georgie was kidnapped, or rather chimpnapped, by the Man with the Wooden Nose, and Otto is still grieving. Otto’s friend Crackers the parrot discusses the chimpnapping with Otto again, and he figures out that Georgie was taken in a ship to America. Being a very brainy bird, and a friend who dearly wants to reunite Georgie and Otto, Crackers finds a way to get Otto onto a plane that is flying to New York City. This is no mean feat since Otto is rather large and is therefore very difficult to hide or disguise.
When they get to America the two friends start getting into trouble from the very beginning. They have to break out of the airport in the middle of the night, and when they get to the city they realize that finding Georgie is not going to be easy because the city is huge.
After a number of false starts, Crackers and Otto meet a performing monkey who suggests they go to the zoo where there are wild animals. Perhaps one of them will know about Georgie or the Man with the Wooden Nose. Crackers and Otto dare to hope that they are finally going to make some progress, never imagining that a great deal of danger awaits them at the zoo.
In this deliciously funny, sweet, and entertaining graphic novel we meet a not-too-bright elephant and a canny and loyal parrot who cannot seem to stay out of trouble. Wonderful adventures and colorful characters make this a winning graphic novel that fans of this genre are going to love.