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Big City Otto

by Bill Slavin

A sentimental elephant is an unlikely hero for a graphic novel, but Otto is the unwitting leading “man” in this comic adventure, the first instalment of a new series. Cursed with the proverbial good memory, Otto can’t forget his childhood friend, Georgie, a chimpanzee who was taken away by the mysterious Man with the Wooden Nose. Otto would do anything to find Georgie. A wise old parrot named Crackers decides to help his oversized buddy, and with few clues and no firm game plan, the pair board a flight to America disguised as luggage, and the big-city adventure begins.

Soon, Otto and Crackers are crashing and thumping through the mean streets, courting trouble and causing mayhem at every turn. Before long, they find themselves chased by the police and caught up in a devious scheme, but with the help of Otto’s girth and Cracker’s quick thinking, the two wriggle out of trouble and find themselves hailed as heroes – though they have yet to find Georgie. This neatly sets up the next adventure, which will land Otto and Crackers in the middle of the Bayou.

Bill Slavin brings his trademark humour and lively illustrations to this lighthearted romp. Often, the fun is in the details, both the art and the quick, streetwise language: one of the cops is a dead ringer for NYPD Blue’s Sipowicz, and one of the members of the alligator gang they encounter has a dubious French accent. Fans of Slavin’s work will not be disappointed.