Otto The Ornament

­Random. Sept. 2023. 40p. Tr $12.99. ISBN 9780593481202.
PreS-Gr 5–With bright, exuberant illustrations, and an ornament named Otto as the main character—who goes from cocky to reflective over the course of a grand adventure—this story has charm, humor, delightful dialogue, and several important messages. Otto is a colorful, shiny, round ornament who believes he is so special that he deserves to be at the top of the Christmas tree. Upon his arrival, he gleefully shouts, “I’m here to bedeck the heck out of your tree!” Otto is warmly welcomed by the other ornaments and told he can hang in the middle of the tree. But he is outraged; he is a “superstar” and belongs at the top. Otto proceeds to belittle the other ornaments and stalks off to find the perfect tree for his brilliance. After trying a variety of trees in a hilarious sequence, Otto discovers an enormous, glowing tree and scrambles to the top. Once there, he realizes he is lonely. Then, he receives an electric shock and tumbles into the gutter. His beauty is destroyed. Finally, when Otto is at his lowest, he performs a heroic rescue, apologizes for his behavior, and reflects on the beauty of others.
VERDICT A wonderful holiday story that highlights the importance of belonging rather than bravado.

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