Friday, January 25, 2019

Review - Otto and Pio

Otto and Pio
by Marianne Dubuc
Date: 2019
Publisher: Princeton Architectural Press
Reading level: C
Book type: picture book
Pages: 72
Format: e-book
Source: NetGalley

Otto the squirrel is perfectly content living by himself in his treehouse in the forest, when a small creature, Pio, arrives on his doorstep, looking for his mother, and Otto invites him in. Pio eats all the hazelnuts, takes up the entire bed, and just gets bigger and bigger! Though Otto worries he may not be very good at caring for a little creature, Pio is very happy. Otto and Pio is a heartwarming tale about finding love and family when it is expected least and needed most.

(synopsis from Goodreads)

This is a strange little story. But it's also quite cute. Otto is a squirrel who lives in a pretty fancy home in a big tree. One morning, he finds a strange green pod on his doorstep. Out of that pod hatches a furry white creature that says, "Pio!" It seems to grow in its sleep, and Otto sets out to find its mother before it can eat him out of house and home... or destroy his house (whichever comes first). But Pio is actually a pretty cool houseguest, making soup, cleaning up, and eventually saving his new friend from a very scary situation.

The illustrations are charming, and are quite fun to look at. I wondered if Pio was a baby yeti or something (he kind of looks like it), but I think part of the fun is not knowing exactly what he's supposed to be. It doesn't really matter, in any case, because he turns out to be a great friend. I liked seeing the different parts of the story--like Otto making his posters and plastering them everywhere--played out in the illustrations. Pio's decorating project was also pretty cute.

The writing was just okay for me. There were a few spots where it wasn't technically correct, which always bugs me in children's books. But the story is fairly solid.

Overall, I quite enjoyed this one. The story is good, and the illustrations are strong. Although we might not get the ending we thought we were going to, the one we do get is still nice. This book celebrates the power of friendships. Even unexpected ones.

Thank you to NetGalley and Princeton Architectural Press for providing a digital ARC.

Premise: 3/5
Meter: n/a
Writing: 3/5
Illustrations: 4/5
Originality: 4/5

Enjoyment: 3/5

Overall: 3.33 out of 5

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