Otto: A Palindrama

I’m breaking my hitherto unbreakable rule. I NEVER write about a book I can’t wholeheartedly recommend, and would NEVER write about a book to recommend against it, certainly– but this book is a menace. You will never be free again should you buy it.

I mean, this is Jon Agee. He should know better, surely? After all, he is the author and illustrator of fine literature for young people, including quirky and mischievous The Wall in the Middle of the Book, humorous and exploratory Life on Mars, sweet and funny Lion Lessons, and the downright beautiful and bizarre masterpiece The Incredible Painting of Felix Clousseau! He knows what he’s doing!

So how could he do this to me? To parents of children everywhere with what my daughter assures me is “words-backwards-itis.” How could he write Otto: A Palindrama? It was bad enough when she was just writing me notes backwards and popping up beside me with “did you know I like to read skoob? Guess what that is? Do you know what skoob are? IT’S PLURAL!” And now… now… “Mummy, did you know this is a palindrome? Look: ‘No jazz. I prefer pizza, Jon.’ IT’S A PALINDROME!”

The whole book is written in palindromes. THE WHOLE THING. And, worse, this graphic novel is entirely, fully, sensible… for a given, Jon Agee, degree of sense, that is.

If you want to live a life free of giggling, delighted kids popping up with “DID YOU KNOW? Look at the crime novel in the window here… It’s a palindrome, too!” bury this post, black out the starred review in The Horn Book

Save your sanity. DO NOT BUY THIS BOOK.

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