Friday, July 24, 2015

Otto & Uncle Tooth Adventures by Geoffrey Hayes -- NOT RECOMMENDED

Hayes, Geoffrey Otto & Uncle Tooth Adventures. EARLY READER. Random House, 2014. Content: PG.

This collection includes reprints of The Secret of Foghorn Island (1988), The Treasure of the Lost Lagoon (1991), and The Curse of the Cobweb Queen (1994), along with an "Ottopedia" giving more background. In each story, Otto and his uncle solve pirate-themed mysteries.

The concept is fun, with its mix of mystery and adventure, but the stories feel extremely old-fashioned, especially when it comes to portraying female characters. Auntie Hick, the main female, fits the classic shrew profile -- except when she is captured and becomes completely helpless while she waits for her boys to rescue her. The other female character options are a tempting siren or a spunky little girl -- neither of which are well-rounded. Otto's derision of girls, especially present in the final story, doesn't help, either. Uncle Tooth's oft-used pipe doesn't exactly discourage smoking, and sensitive students may find the presence of guns, knives, and menacing characters a bit scary. Perhaps the text could have been updated for modern times for the reprint.

EL -- NOT RECOMMENDED. Reviewer: Caryn

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