Ottoline Goes to School


Chris Riddell


Fantasy / Science Fiction


Date Reviewed:

April 15, 2022

ttoline and Mr Munroe return for a second delightful adventure. In Ottoline Goes to School, Ottoline meets a girl named Cecily in the park. Cecily tells such enchanting, amazing stories that Ottoline can't resist hearing more. Ottoline spends a lot of time with her new friend, and poor Mr. Munroe feels slighted. Mr. Munroe always felt that he was Ottoline's best friend. Mr. Munroe feels sad, so he climbs to the balcony on top of the Pepperpot Building where he lives with Ottoline. Mr. Munroe contemplates his life, and then returns to keep Ottoline company as a loyal friend.

Cecily mentions that she is going to school - she attends the Alice B. Smith School for the Differently Gifted. There, Cecily learns such skills as paper folding, advanced musing, weeping and "being". Ottoline is intrigued by these studies - if she attended the school, would she learn what talent is her special gift? Ottoline writes to her parents asking if she can enroll (as always, her parents, Professor Brown and Professor Brown, are in an exotic location collecting rare artifacts for their extensive collections). Ottoline's parent write back that she can indeed take classes there, and so Ottoline and Mr. Munroe board the bus that takes them to the castle on the cliff that houses the School for the Differently Gifted.

Ottoline meets the other eccentric students, such as the son of the invisible man, the Wright sisters Orvillise and Wilburta, the Sultana of Pahang, and Newton Knight, the boy genius. At the castle, Cecily invites all the other students for a sleep-over - and there she tells them a scary ghost story about the School for the Differently Gifted. Indeed, bizarre things happen at night! What could be causing that clip-clop sound that they hear in the corridors? Truly the school is haunted and the children are frightened.

Ottoline is not scared. She and Mr. Munroe make a plan and investigate. Naturally, Ottoline solves the mystery and all is well. What a fun story!.

Once again the artwork is superb. I imagine Mr. Riddell grinning with maniacal delight as he sets ink pen to paper and produces these clever, fun and truly excellent drawings. The artwork is all drawn with thin delicate inked lines, and then a single color highlight (in this book, the highlight color is blue, it was red in Ottoline and the Yellow Cat) livens up the artwork. Many of the drawings fill an entire page, some cover a double spread. Almost every page has some kind of illustration - to call this book lavishly illustrated would be an understatement. All of the drawings are great, but I especially enjoyed the bears at the party in the forest.

At the moment, there are four books in the Ottoline series. I hope Mr. Riddell has plans for many more.