Kathi Appelt When Otis Courted Mama

ISBN 13: 9780152166885

When Otis Courted Mama

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9780152166885: When Otis Courted Mama

Apart from sticker burrs and sand fleas, Cardell’s life is mostly wonderful. He knows he’s loved through and through by his perfectly good mama and his perfectly good daddy. They live in different parts of the desert, but that’s okay—Cardell is mostly used to it. Then Otis comes calling, and Cardell feels a grrr form in his throat. Otis can’t make jalapeño flapjacks or play Zig-the-Zag anything like Cardell’s daddy. And so Cardell waits for Mama to say "Adiós, Otis." But what will happen if she doesn’t?

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About the Author:

Kathi Appelt is the author of many books for children and young adults, including When Otis Courted Mama, illustrated by Jill McElmurry; Oh My Baby, Little One, illustrated by Jane Dyer; and the story collection Kissing Tennessee. Her novel The Underneath was a Newbery Honor book and a National Book Award finalist. She lives in Texas. www.kathiappelt.com

Jill McElmurry is the illustrator of many picture books, including When Otis Courted Mama by Kathi Appelt and the best-selling Little Blue Truck series, written by Alice Schertle. She divides her time between the wide landscape of New Mexico and a green island in Minnesota. Visit her at www.jillmcelmurry.com

From School Library Journal:

PreS-Gr 3—Set in the southwestern desert, this adorable, humble tale of how a young coyote copes with divorced parents will win children's hearts. The cadence of the story, with its soothing repetition, balances the new dual-home reality of so many children today with the old comfort of Home where a child feels "loved through and through." The beautifully toned gouache brushwork and large swatches of color are reminiscent of Rothko's work on one page while evoking classic Golden Book aesthetics on the next. White stands out like the stars in the desert night, and the eyelashes of these coyotes are long and lush or their cheeks blush. Cardell loves his daddy who can sing and play and cook jalapeño flapjacks like no other, but he has to share his "perfectly good daddy" with a stepmother and a baby stepbrother. He loves his "perfectly good mama," but not the series of suitors that come a-courtin' but are soon sent away. Then Otis arrives, and he makes Cardell feel "a grrr form in his throat." He expects his mother to say, "We can do without Otis...but "Adiós, Otis" never came." The complicated feelings of a child who must accept a new stepparent are woefully underrepresented in children's literature. Turns out that Otis can spin a pretty good yarn that "settled on Cardell's fur like a warm blanket. Even the moon seemed to smile." Well, like Otis, this exquisitely told tale is a welcome addition to any collection.—Sara Lissa Paulson, The American Sign Language and English Lower School, New York City

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