Otto P. Nudd: The BEST bird in Ida Valley (at least according to him). While his buddies waste their days at the dump cracking jokes, Otto invents things with his human neighbor Old Man Bartleby in their workshop.

Marla: The Competition. This protective mama-squirrel will swipe Otto’s snacks from under his beak if it means another meal for her babies!

Pippa: The girl who loves the birds in Ida Valley, and Otto most of all. But when Bartleby”s latest contraption lands him in danger, the whole neighborhood–kids and critters alike–will have to join forces to save their oldest friend!


My first review of 2021 is an fun, engaging tale about the bond between humans and animals. Friendship takes center stage where a different mindset is needed to appreciate others. The third person narration stays with either Otto or Pippa most of the time, straying occasionally to a few lessons from a smart mouse and guinea pig.

Communication between Pippa and Otto is limited, but they have become best of friends with exchanges of food and treasures. Otto’s weakness is a nasty arrogance around others. This does not include his mate who is waiting for a new baby raven to hatch from the egg she watches over. There’s also the old man who raised Otto. His unfortunate accident is the force that brings everyone together.

Since Otto himself is an inventor, he’ll have to figure out how to change his personality and win back those he mocked. The adventure will please animal and science lovers alike. A unique story with many messages for young readers.



  1. You might see yourself in one of the animal or human characters. A great reminder to not judge someone or something before getting the full story.
  2. Using science to solve problems along with making a point through a game was a memorable part of the plot.
  3. I’ll be looking at crows and ravens differently after learning about their behaviors in Otto P. Nudd. Quite the intelligent creatures!
  4. Character arcs for Otto and his nemesis Marla were well done and very believable.
  5. The 34 chapters would make a great read aloud with plenty of opportunities for discussion.

About the Author (from Penguin Random House)

Emily Butler is the eldest of seven children and grew up hiding behind the sofa so that she could read her books in peace and quiet. (It was never quiet.) She finished high school in Brazil, worked on a kibbutz in Israel, practiced law in New York City, catered weddings in London–and was never without a book in her backpack or briefcase. Emily recently moved to Utah with her husband. They live in an old house that is stuffed to the gills with three lovely but disobedient children, and every sort of book.


I received an ARC for my honest review. Comments are welcome below.

About Greg Pattridge

Climbing another mountain...always striving to reach the next peak in my life and career.
This entry was posted in Middle Grade Book Reviews and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to OTTO P. NUDD

  1. What an great book to launch the New Year! Sounds like a very entertaining read + science. I have read books with ravens and blackbirds in them and am amazed at how smart they really are. Would enjoy this story.

  2. What a fun-sounding read! Yes, I’ve heard that crows and ravens are super intelligent. (I read a book about the ravens at the Tower of London.) Happy New Year!

  3. Completely Full Bookshelf says:

    This sounds like a really fun story! It reminds me of some of Katherine Applegate’s books that I’ve enjoyed (talking animals are a bit of a trend in her books). I wouldn’t have thought that crows are very intelligent—that’s interesting! Thanks for the great review!

  4. How fun. And for young people to learn not to be judgemental and using science to make decisions is a real bonus. Crows and ravens are incredibly intelligent. i love that they are featured in this book. Thanks for the heads up.

  5. I love that the characters use science to solve their problems. Thanks for sharing it to start the new year.

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