Book Review: Otis Grows by Kathryn Hast, M.L. Phang

Otis Grows is a picture book written by Kathryn Hast, M.L. Phang. Young Otis is forced to question his origin and allegiances, given that his mom, a yellow chicken, is part of the Nuh-Uhs, and his dad, a blue flower, stems from the Yes-Chums. Struggling to find answers, Otis runs away, only to encounter more colors (and cultures) than he could ever imagine, including a giant portrait full of possibilities.
Otis Grows is a picturebook with wonderful illustrations, and great intentions- but it requires a lot of shrugging off the impossible. Otis is an onion, and the child of an flower and a chicken- how is that even a thing? I think the culture and acceptance theme could have been served just as well- and less disturbingly to this avid gardener-if the parents were plants from opposite ends of the garden bed. But, that is just me. I did like how Otis explored and discovered how different- and yet the same- everyone is. I also liked the exploration of how we each change- although I am not sure the target audience really has to worry about the 'odor of growing older' quite yet. I loved the theme and the message of the book, and the life lessons that it is intent on teaching.

Otis Grows is an interesting tale- I loved that love and acceptance wins out and is show to be so important, but fort he book to be esoteric enough that I think many will get so caught up in the oddity that they will miss the beauty of the artwork and the intent behind the story. 

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