Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Otto in Texas

Otto in Texas
William Pène du Bois ~ The Viking Press, 1959

A reader and fellow blogger recently lamented over my lack of the Otto books and Space Cat in my archives. Never one to disappoint, I'll attempt to make amends this week. (It's slow going, but eventually I will get to everything... AND I DO MEAN EVERYTHING. Mark my words!) Beginning most appropriately with this little nod to the Lone Star State. The preface says it all...This is a story about Otto, the world-famous giant dog, and his master, Duke. Otto has had heroic adventures in eighteen different countries and received twenty-two medals. The highlights of his exciting life are told in this new series of adventure books, one medal at a time.

Long before the often misunderstood Clifford the Big Red Dog lopped onto the scene (Clifford was born in '63, Giant Otto appeared in '36), Otto was displaying all sorts of large dog chivalry and saving the day with four paws rooted firmly on the ground.

This is the third book in the series published two decades after the first: Giant Otto - '36, Otto at Sea - '58, Otto in Texas - '59, Otto in Africa - '61 and Otto and the Magic Potatoes - '71. Here we find our dog and his French master befriending a Texas billionaire and outwitting a trio of oil rustlers disguised as oil-painting grandmothers. Very smart story with loads of cultural references illustrated in Du Bois' signature style. My favorites are the cool pictures of the underground pipeline/hideout the rustlers built with an elaborate ventilation system and the impeccably penned metals that appear in the back.

Sadly, the Texas book is the only Otto we own, but I'm always on the look out. Here's hoping. (If anyone has a scan of the true cover -- mine's missing the dust jacket -- I'd love to see it!)

Also by:
The Runaway Flying Horse
Bear Party


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