When Otis Courted Mama
Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
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?
This excellent take on modern, blended families melds a believable, resonant story arc and winsome, child-appealing illustrations. —Kirkus (starred review)
McElmurry's. . . gouache illustrations revel in the desert setting, her homey paintings evoking the look of weather-beaten folk art while contributing to the story's overall humor and sweetness.
Like Otis, Appelt is a gifted storyteller, and families whose circumstances echo Cardell's will welcome this gentle story, which is nicely augmented by illustrator McElmurry's gouache pictures, with their vivid desert colors. —Booklist
© 2014 Jill McElmurry