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Bob and Otto by Robert O. Bruel
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Bob and Otto

by Robert O. Bruel

Other authors: Nick Bruel (Illustrator)

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Bob the caterpillar and Otto the earthworm were best friends. They enjoyed crawling around together, and had, at least in their early stages, a lot in common. But then Bob had the urge to climb a tree and spin a cocoon and Otto had the urge to burrow into the earth and dig. When next they met, Bob had become a beautiful butterfly, and Otto felt sad and abashed that he was still the same humble worm. In an effort to comfort his friend, Bob assured Otto that his hard work digging made his (Bob's) metamorphosis possible.

Using a story written by his father, well-known author/illustrator Nick Bruel creates a picture-book about friendship and the different paths that erstwhile companions sometimes follow in Bob and Otto. Although I think the author's heart is in the right place here, I did have mixed feelings about the messages presented in the story. On the one hand, I do appreciate the idea that the slow and steady work of earthworms, although unseen by most because it occurs underground, is vital to the health of many ecological systems, and makes many beautiful things (like butterflies!) possible. That said, I had to wonder at the choice to compare an earthworm's contributory role to a butterfly's starring one, as it subtly reinforces the notion that the best that less attractive individuals can hope for is to perform the necessary but less appreciated labor behind the scenes, while others win attention. I do not believe this is an intentional message here, but it did occur to me as a possible interpretation, while reading. Leaving that concern aside, this is a sweet story of two friends whose path in life takes them apart and then brings them together, and (if read a certain way) highlights that we each have a role to play in the larger dance of life. ( )
  AbigailAdams26 | Jan 26, 2017 |
The book "Bob and Otto" is a book about how two little insects find their way and reach their full potential. I loved this book. I thought the illustrations and structure of this book was inspired. Having the pages cut into two different pictures with two different sentences for whats going on with each character was very interesting and fun to read. I also loved the flow of the writing because it made the book more enjoyable. The overall tone of the book was upbeat and engaging which made it hard to put it down. The big idea of this book actually two. One message is that insects help the earth, they help the plants and they help other insects/ other animals. The other message is that friends accept each other and help each other when they are feeling blue.
  jessclark | Nov 8, 2016 |
The book "Bob and Otto" is a book about how two little insects find their way and reach their full potential. I loved this book. I thought the illustrations and structure of this book was inspired. Having the pages cut into two different pictures with two different sentences for whats going on with each character was very interesting and fun to read. I also loved the flow of the writing because it made the book more enjoyable. The overall tone of the book was upbeat and engaging which made it hard to put it down. The big idea of this book actually two. One message is that insects help the earth, they help the plants and they help other insects/ other animals. The other message is that friends accept each other and help each other when they are feeling blue.
  jclark35 | Nov 8, 2016 |
In my opinion, this is a wonderful book to use for young children. This is a great book to use for a read-aloud session or independent reading because of its vivid illustrations, large bold print, and simple storyline. The big idea of this story is to stress the significance of friendship and how everyone is special in their own unique way. There are several reasons why I enjoy this book. First, the language was clear and concise. This makes it easy for young students to comprehend what the text is saying. The language also uses sensory details to describe the season of spring, the environment, and the creatures’ emotions. For example, the story states, “These fresh, green leaves are very tasty up here, thought Bob,” which helps the reader visualize the environment. The story is written in chronological order, which made the writing well organized. It also uses bold print and has a good number of words on each page; therefore, it is engaging, fun to read, and not overwhelming to students. The two characters, Bob and Otto, are believable because they are two best friends who have fun together. The story reads, “These two very good friends spent each day digging in the ground, playing in the grass, and eating the leaves that feel from the old tree.” Students can relate to these characters because they may also have a best friend who they spend much of their time with. What I enjoy most about this story are the illustrations and the plot. The vivid and colorful illustrations of scenery, springtime, Otto digging underground, and Bob transforming into a butterfly enhance the story and help bring it to life. The beautiful drawings are eye-catching, which engages children of all ages. The plot of the story is that Otto wants to remain digging underground, yet Bob decides to climb the tall tree and eat the fresh leaves. In the tree, Bob morphs into a beautiful yellow butterfly. The two creatures then reunite and Otto is upset that he stayed underground and did not grow big, beautiful wings. Bob cheers up his best friend by stating, “But while you were digging, you loosened the soil so the roots could drink water, so the three could grow tall, so the leaves would be green, so I could eat the leaves, and grow wings.” I love that Bob helped Otto realize the importance of his existence and duty as a worm. This teaches children that everyone is important, no matter whom they are. It pushes readers to realize that no one person is better than another, and that we all need each other to thrive. The story also signifies the importance of friendship, which is noted at the end of the book when Bob states, “You’re not just a worm. You’re my best friend. And friends are important.” This is my favorite line of the story; it is very heartwarming and allows us to realize how lucky we are to have our friends. ( )
  jgiann2 | Feb 24, 2014 |
Bob and Otto are two inseparable friends – a worm and a caterpillar – who love to hang out together, have fun and eat leaves that fall from the trees. One day Bob decides he wants to climb up on the tree to see the world from up above, and Otto does not like the idea and decides to dig deep into the ground. So they do what they want for a while, until they realize they are alone. They miss each other and decide to go look for one another. But now Bob is a butterfly and Otto is still a worm. Will they still be friends? A science lesson can explore the story focusing on the butterfly cycle and/or the importance of worms for the soil.
  tati4books | May 2, 2009 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Robert O. Bruelprimary authorall editionscalculated
Bruel, NickIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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Otto the worm is shocked to discover that his best friend Bob is actually a caterpillar who emerges one day as a butterfly.

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