Otto's Backwards Day, by Frank Cammuso with Jay Lynch, 32 pp, RL 1

Otto's Backwards Day is the follow up to Frank Cammuso and Jay Lynch's fantastic Otto's Orange Day, which was one of the first books in the TOON Books line of beginning to read graphic novels that debuted in 2008. Otto has his particular, pointed tastes, but he knows how to deal with the curves that this throws into his world. With his birthday approaching, Otto can only think of the gifts he will be getting and the party that will happen saying, "Who needs a family and friends when I have the important things? Cake, ice cream, balloons..." Otto's father tells him that he's got things backwards and, sure enough, with a WHUMP! and a look of surprise, Otto follows what he thinks is the trail to his missing birthday and ends up in the laboratory of Professor Backwards. The professor convinces Otto to try out his new invention, the Palindrome Machine that will take him to the Backwards World where, he assures Otto, he will be fine because his name IS a palindrome.

Toot, the robot, goes along with Otto on his journey. Things are pretty strange and a little dangerous until Otto finds a race car (also a palindrome) then a kayak. I think you see how this is going... When Otto finally finds his birthday, he doesn't want to celebrate because he realizes that he DID have it backwards - a party without family and friends is no party at all.

The illustrations in Otto's Backwards Day are vibrant and boisterous, much like Otto himself, It's great fun to travel with him through Backwards World, especially when he has to answer three questions from Ogopogo, a Sphinx-like sea serpent. My only problem with Cammuso and Lynch is that they can't create more stories about Otto fast enough!

Source: Review Copy

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