Otto P. Nudd by Emily Butler
Publisher: Crown Books for Young Readers
Number of pages: 240
Publishing: December 29th, 2020
Source: Author in exchange for an honest review
Opening Lines: "Otto, you're splendid, mumbled Bartleby Doyle."
Otto is a tinkerer, builder, and the feathered raven assistant to inventor Mr. Bartleby Doyle. They've been working on a secret project together in Mr. Doyle's workshop for quite some time. Each morning Mr. Doyle has a favorite routine, he meets up with his next door neighbor, ten year old Pippa for a walk to school, while Otto follows them from above. Their routine usually includes making a loop around the park, where they leave a peanut on each fence post along the way for Otto and the other birds in the park to retrieve. However, today their ordered routine is interrupted when a squirrel named Marla swipes Otto's peanuts. As the one who keeps order in the neighborhood, Otto takes great offense to having the peanuts meant for the corvids stolen. Unfortunately, Marla is too fast for Otto to confront so he heads to the workshop to check on Bartleby's progress on their flying device instead. Unknown to Otto, Marla is just trying to provide for her small children. Delayed in arriving to the workshop, Otto is unfortunately locked out, all he can do is look in from the window. What he sees is very unsettling, Mr. Bartleby has begun the experiment without him, he's even rattled to witness Bartleby neglecting one of the most important safety measures for any experiment such as theirs, wearing a helmet. Then Otto sees the experiment go horrible wrong and Bartleby is injured in the process. Unable to get inside the workshop, Otto seeks help from an unlikely source.
Otto is an interesting character, maybe a little rude, often belittling to his friends by over emphasizing how smart and knowledgeable he is. I loved how his attitude and behavior began to change as he started to realize just how poorly he treated his friends. There's a valuable lesson in here about asking for forgiveness and being open to the idea of making a change. The illustrations by Melissa Manwill punctuating the beginning of each chapter were cute and added to my enjoyment in reading the book. However, I do wish there would have been one of Mr. Doyle, he sounded like such a nice old man. There's also a nice note at the back of the book which includes some interesting facts about corvids. Overall, Otto P. Nudd is an adorable story which will especially appeal to readers who enjoy books with anthropomorphic characters, stories involving inventions or unlikely friendships.
**A huge thank you to Emily Butler for the ARC**