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‘We need the literature of other countries to expand our
horizons and stimulate our ideas. Without it, we are not only
diminished, we are starved’
(The Times, Magnus Linklater 29/06/05)
Otto Goes North
by Ulrika Kestere
Age Range: 6-8
Otto is an adventurous lemur. He’s cycled a very long way from his home in the south to visit his friends, Lisa (a lynx) and Nils (a little bear) who live far up in the north in a blueberry-blue house with a grass roof.
Otto is eager to create a spectacular painting of the northern lights to remember his visit by, but being from a hot country he hadn’t anticipated how bitterly cold it would be. When Otto becomes unwell his friends are worried. They try to make him better by taking him to the sauna and giving him blueberry soup. At first, Lisa and Nils are surprised, Otto has fur just like them so why should he feel the cold? They had no idea there were different types of fur and Otto’s fur is for a warmer climate. Fortunately the two friends manage to come up with an ingenious plan to help Otto get better and finish his painting.
This heart-warming story by Swedish author/illustrator, Ulrika Kestere, translated by Julia Marshall, has a gentle humour as it conveys the importance of friendship and accepting difference. The illustrations have clear simple lines and rich colours showing the expressive characters of each animal. The detail their experiment of dying and spinning yarn is both amusing and factual and is sure to appeal to readers who enjoy crafts.