Otto Undercover #1: Born to Drive

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9780060754952: Otto Undercover #1: Born to Drive

FOR USE IN SCHOOLS AND LIBRARIES ONLY.

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About the Author:

Rhea Perlman is an actress, a mother, and a very bad singer. She mostly plays lousy bad guys like Matilda’s mother in the movie Matilda and Carla the loudmouth waitress on Cheers. Her nicknames are Rhe Peeman, Pee Rheman, and Ritz Pritzle. She is the author of five other books in the Otto Undercover series.

From School Library Journal:

Grade 3-6–Otto Pillip loves palindromes, which isn't surprising, given his name. Although he's only 11, he invents all kinds of incredible devices and drives a race car named Racecar. Having lost his parents mysteriously as a baby, he lives with his two peculiar aunts, FiFi and FooFoo. Otto enters a race with a one-million-dollar purse, but, the night before the event, Racecar is stolen by two exceptionally obtuse bad guys. They don't realize that Otto has loaded his car with an invention to defeat every deception imaginable. Perlman (yes, the comic actress of Cheers fame) breaks the novel into tiny, easy-to-digest bits (some of the 36 chapters are only a few words long), which offers the possibility of a fun read, especially for hard-to-motivate readers. Unfortunately, the humor, as well as the story, is mostly lame and repetitious, and Santat's cartoon illustrations add little to the mix. In the second book, Otto receives a secret message implying that if he travels to the Grand Canyon, he might obtain a clue to the whereabouts of his missing parents, so he and his aunts head west. Much silliness ensues involving a crook in a dress, aunts disguised as uncles, 10,000 sticks of dynamite, and a pet cockroach. Like the first novel, Canyon Catastrophe seems designed for reluctant readers, but the gags tend to repeat themselves, the humor involving palindromes and anagrams gets old fast, and the art is only adequate.–Walter Minkel, New York Public Library
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