Otto Tattercoat and the Forest of Lost Things

Philomel. Jun. 2020. 256p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780525515272.
Gr 4 Up–A magical new adventure awaits readers in Woods’s latest novel that weaves Grimm’s fairy tales into the freezing city of Hodeldorf. Otto and his mother have just moved to the coldest place in the world to sell coats, and when Otto’s mother goes missing, he finds himself in an unforgiving city where the adults are as cold as the weather. As he searches for his mother, Otto finds friendship among the Tattercoats, a group of homeless children who survive on the street by a strict code. Otto’s search brings him and his new friends, Nim and Blink, to the forest, where they find that magic and the increasing cold are intertwined. Suddenly, in addition to Otto’s mother, they need to save the future of the city as well. Young readers may find the Dickensian elements of Hodeldorf dark at first, but will ultimately find that kindness and helping others in need can cause a beautiful ripple effect. Otto’s journey to reunite with his mother is also Nim and Blink’s, as they use their Tattercoat skills to thwart trouble that crosses their path. At first, the adventure can feel it has two separate narratives, one in the city and the other in the forest, but the story finishes with questions answered along with a happy ending.
VERDICT This quirky magical adventure is comparable to Cornelia Funke’s The Thief Lord, Eva Ibbotson’s Which Witch, and the works of Roald Dahl.

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