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Ottoline - Fine illustrations and quirky humour

Ottoline and her companion, Mr Munroe, a bog animal from Norway, are an eccentric pair who have an appetite for solving puzzles and mysteries. Ottoline's parents are members of the Roving Collectors Society and are often away travelling the world, which, as in all good children's books, gives Ottoline the chance to have adventures.

These adventures are recorded in a series of books by Chris Riddell, which are perfect for emerging readers.


The text is broken up with elegant black and white illustrations. A beautiful form of visual literacy that draws the reader into Ottoline's quirky world. When I read this book with my daughter years ago, she loved looking at the boxed explanations that were scattered throughout the illustrations. It forced her to jump around the pages which made it a really active reading experience.


It's also worth noting here the Goth Girl series. This handsome set of books, also by Chris Riddell, follow a similar illustration heavy format. The heroine of these stories is Ada Goth. (Her character was inspired by Ada Lovelace, the daughter of Lord Byron). Intrepid and independently minded, she is the only child of Lord Goth, the famous cycling poet. Her mother, Parthenope, a beautiful tightrope walker from Thessalonika, died whilst practising on the roof during a thunderstorm.


Sharply written with slightly more text, the Goth Girl books work on different levels for different readers. There is both simple good humour and dark wit. There are also a number of veiled gothic literary references which an adult reader will find enjoyable.


A great series for young readers drawn to quirkier texts.


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