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Ottoline at Sea

Posted on Oct 12, 2010

Chris Riddell(Macmillan)
Ottoline and her very hairy friend Mr Munroe are inseparable. That is until Ottoline is trying to decide on the destination of her next vacation and seems totally oblivious to Mr Munroe’s hints as to where he wants to go. So when he decides to set off on his own, Ottoline is distraught. Thankfully Mr. Munroe has left a clue as to his whereabouts written in string on the sofa. So begins a brand new adventure for Ottoline, who, armed with her Amateur Roving Collectors ‘ travel pass, takes to the sea, first in a submarine, then a raft (and hops on a plane in between), to try and find her best friend.

Ottoline is back at last in this long-awaited third instalment of her adventures. How my son and I love this inquisitive and clever little girl and her unusual-looking best friend. Both Ottoline and Mr. Munroe love investigating all sorts of mysteries and are masters of disguise, with the most hilarious consequences. The stories are wonderfully quirky and humorous and the artwork compliments it beautifully. Anyone who is acquainted with Riddell’ work will know his eye for unusual and often hilarious details; he is not a political cartoonist for nothing. Yes, it is very eccentric but I think children embrace that more than happily. I think they probably love the idea of having parents off on amazing adventures and being able to do what you want!
Ottoline is a great little role model too; she is passionate, but sensible, sensitive and very caring. Once she has realised she might have upset Mr Munroe, she is willing to go across the world, literally, to find him and make things right. It is a great ode to friendship and acceptance.


This volume has the added bonus of including Bog Goggles. Those are the same special goggles that Mr. Munroe find in a story and allows him (and us) to see things that others can’t see, as illustrated below.
This is the page as you see it first:

This is what you see hidden under the mat, in the mirrors and on the cushion cover if you put your bog goggles on:


This cleverly helps the reader understand how Mr. Munroe is feeling the call from home, without having to say it.
I personally think this is a perfect series for able but reluctant readers . There are enough illustrations to make them feel like they are not reading “much”, but the text is quite literary. The humour, the double-meanings, the clues in the illustrations all add up to a perfect little package. The first Ottoline book was one of the books I gave my son who was finding hard to motivate himself to read and he gobbled it up, as well as the second one (see my review here). He did the same with this one of course, and meeting Chris Riddell only reinforced his conviction that he is one of his favourite author/illustrators.

This is a beautiful series which I heart-warmingly hasten you to discover if you have not yet. It has great crossover appeal, and on a more materialistic note, as with the Madame Pamplemousse series,the books themselves are so beautiful that you will definitely want them for your shelves!

Sent for review by the publisher

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1 Comment

  1. *jalouse*

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