Monday, June 17, 2013

Otto: The Autobiography of a Teddy Bear by Tomi Ungerer

Otto is a  German teddy and his first memories are of being stitched together and presented to a Jewish boy for his fifth birthday some years before the outbreak of WWII. David shares his bear with his best friend Oskar, using him for pranks, games and showing him how to operate a typewriter and to write with ink. The purple pink indelible stain which marks his head is an important part of the story. Then comes the war and David is taken away by German soldiers. Hardships are ahead and Otto is to change hands many times throughout the book. Students will find this innocent protagonist appealing and although the book deals with one of the darkest chapters in history, the story with its beautiful ending will prompt important questions and reflection without causing undue stress. A small corner of the Holcaust seen through the eyes of a teddy bear is a truly unforgettable experience.

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