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Otto and the Bird Charmers Paperback – 12 Aug 2004
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Charming and highly readable (Times Educational Supplement)
A thrilling and wondrous adventure (The Sunday Express)
This is certainly unlike anything you have come across before (School Librarian)
A mixture of humour and extravagant action, this attractive fantasy is accessible to quite young readers simply as an adventure story. But it is a very thoughtful book, and underlying its invention and suspense are other layers of meaning. (BfK)
Praise for Otto and the Flying Twins: 'A sophisticated, elliptical fantasy that does not read like anything you have come across before. It will reward youngsters ... with its magic, warmth and excitement.' (The Sunday Times)
Romps along ... Haptie has taken a serious theme ... which gives this quirky debut a serious and valid undercurrent. (TES)
A fantastic read with a twisting, turning plot that ensures page-turning intrigue from beginning to end ... superb storytelling ... highly recommended, rip-roaring adventure ideal for children aged nine and over. (amazon.co.uk)
Magical yet appealingly true to life, the much awaited follow up to Otto and the Flying Twins (parents news)
From the gorgeous map at the beginning, to the amazing talents of Otto and his friends, this is the perfect fantasy (RTE Guide)
I love this book. Told as a whimsical adventure full of colours, magic and sparks, it really is a child's parable about serious issues of suffering. . . . The plot moves along shakily as real children's lives do. Adults quarrel, young friends tiff and reunite, and every page touches a reader's sense of wonder. . . . one's heartstrings are pulled, and you long to visit them again and again. (Inis the Children's Book Ireland Magazine)
The City of Trees is in the grip of something strange - a frightening upside-down world of ice, and the Karmidee are blamed. It's up to Otto and Mab to find the answerSee all Product description
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Some fantasy novels work well for adults too - but this one is strictly for the kids! Although a lengthy book, this is probably a story for pre-Harry Potter-readers ... best suited to those no more than 8/9 years of age. Young readers who have mastered the complexity of a Rowling's plot might possibly find this a little juvenile for their tastes.
The story is nicely broken into lots of short chapters making it perfect to read to little children at bedtime, inspiring pleasant dreams of dragons, unicorns and flying carpets. However, a very deliberate message of 'tolerating those who are different' may go over the heads of the youngest, or seem a little 'preachy' to the oldest.
In summary, an enjoyable fantasy book for young readers ... delightful to read, but possibly lacking the individuality needed to stand the test of time and become a true classic.
Otto Hush lives with his dad, Arthur, his mother Delores, and the twins Hepzie and Zebbie. He thinks he's a Citizan (Normal in every way), until it turns out the twins can fly (you may have guessed that from the title). Then, Otto meets Mab, a mat flyer from Tiger Town, a world away from the safety of Parry street, and before he knows it, Otto is fighting to save the Karmidee from being extinguished altogether.
The first of these three books is an enchanting tale, where Hapitie's humour brings a different feel to this world she has created, where the things that we would take for granted are seen as strange. This book shouls appeal not only to children, who will be excited by the dragons and flying twins, but also to adults, who should really appretiate the irony of her tone.
The people living in the City of Trees are divided into the Karmidee and the normal people - the Normies, who've lived alongside magic for so long that they don't know what's impossible any more. Over the years they've grown to distrust one another and the story opens at the beginning of an anti-Karmidee campaign being run by Ms Crink.
Otto lives in a very posh area of the city, The Heights, where everybody is normal and respectable, and everybody can say the word 'lemon'. The flying twins in the title are Otto's sisters, and having to hide the fact that they're flying - after all, it's not respectable to fly around the room - is what sparks Otto's interest in the Karmidee world.
The City of Trees is a marvellous place. Mentioning any of the worders would spoil the surprise, but they really are very imaginative. The Karmidee (also insultingly called Magicos) are really well thought out, but the reader isn't overwhelmed with information about them. The characters are varied and very individual, and although the book has obvious parallels with real life persecutions it doesn't preach.
The book is pitched at the eight to twelve age group, although it would be enjoyed by adults as well. Parents who plan on reading it to their younger children should be aware that there are a couple of mild instances of bad language.
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