Friday, December 15th, 2017

Otis Grows – A Little Red Onion Deals With Big Conflicts


For children books, Otis Grows by Kathryn Hast is very mature. The reason I say that is because it focuses on Otis, a red onion who feels different because his dad is a blue flower and his mom is a yellow chicken. Looking at the cover before reading the story, I thought that Otis was a beet, but that’s not the point.

Written in rhyme, I found it a little confusing. Perhaps learning that the mom is part of the Nuh-Uhs and his dad is from the Yes-Chums is not the traditional places I would think of. Also, this book is not for young readers. Don’t expect the simple tale with cute noises. My 8-year-old daughter read this with me and to be honest, she couldn’t really follow what it was about. I had to read it twice to get it.

After conflict with his parents, Otis runs away and eventually learns that there is diversity.  For example he meets a talking crystal! What is a little poignant is that he grows up and doesn’t reunite with his parents in the end. A little deep perhaps? This is not the picture book that is simple. Perhaps it can grow on you?

However, the illustrations are beautiful.

Hardcover is $13.50;  paperback is $8.99.

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