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Otto and the Flying Twins Hardcover – 12 Sep 2002
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Charlotte Haptie's magical Otto and the Flying Twins is a lyrical tale of magical secrets and mystical mayhem in a world where human beings are intent on quashing anything and anybody they see as different or strange.
Our hero Otto Hush is the seemingly normal product of a seemingly normal family. But one day, on a visit to the Firebox Launderette, his father is called upon to solve a particularly tricky problem and Otto's suspicions are aroused. Then, when his twin baby sisters suddenly start flying, and a strange girl on a flying carpet lands in his bedroom late one night to escape the Normies (a special police force set up to rid the city of anything strange), he knows for sure that something is afoot.
Reminiscent of Enid Blyton's spookily magical Enchanted Wood stories, with a touch of Ghostbusters and a sprinkling of William Nicholson thrown in for good measure, Otto and the Flying Twins is a fantastic read with a twisting, turning plot that ensures page-turning intrigue from beginning to end. But more than that, Charlotte Haptie has cleverly managed to combine superb storytelling with an emotional truth that eloquently examines a society shrouded in bigotry without turning it into a yawn-inducing morality tale. This highly recommended, rip-roaring adventure is ideal for children aged nine and over. --Susan Harrison.
Enchanting ... will delight anyone who believes in magic ... This tale has powerful emotions and poignancy as well as charm and magic (The Good Book Guide)
Utterly delightful (Daily Mail)
A truly magical tale (Family Focus)
A sophisticated, elliptical fantasy that does not read like anything you have come across before. It will reward youngsters who rise to the challenge with its magic, warmth and excitement (The Sunday Times)
Warmly colourful and imbued with a sense of delight ... This book is one to love and return to with affection (The Childrens Book Magazine, Ireland)
This fantastical adventure romps along with magical events occurring thick and fast (School Librarian)
A mixture of humour and extravagant action ... a very thoughtful book (Books For Keeps)
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)
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)
Romps along...Haptie has taken a serious theme...as her framework, which gives this quirky debut a serious and valid undercurrent (TES)
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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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