Posts Tagged ‘Macmillan Publishing’

9781250011763This week marks the release of a great new book Otis Dooda written by Ellen Potter and illustrated by David Heatley. This is a fun book filled with great humor especially for boys. On this extra- special Friday bonus post I thought I’d give our readers a chance to meet a few of the characters behind the story.

Title: Otis Dooda (Feiwel & Friends 2013)
Author: Ellen Potter
Illustrator: David Heatley

Book Description:


Meet Otis Dooda. Yes, that’s his name. Go on and have a good laugh. He’s heard it all before. He’s been called things like Otis Poopy Stink and Otis Toilet Twinkie. That’s right, yuck it up and get it out of your system. We’ll wait.

All right then. This is the story of Otis and the Dooda family (including their rat named Smoochie) moving to New York City, and the incredibly strange, but true, things that happened to them. It all started with Otis getting cursed by a guy in a potted plant in their apartment building lobby, and then meeting a bunch of their neighbors, including a farting pony named Peaches who was disguised as a dog. And that was just the first day.

Character Spotlight

Character name: Otis DoodaHappyotis

Brief physical description:

Not to be rude, but his body is shaped like a Twizzler. Super skinny, very bendy. His toenails haven’t been clipped in a while so let’s not talk about that. Once, this girl said that he looked like the kid from the Home Alone movie. Then she asked him if he thought she looked like Selena Gomez. He said no, and she said, “Fine, then you don’t look like the Home Alone kid.”

He has very good teeth.


He is a Lego-genius. I mean it, this guy can solve any problem with some Lego bricks and a rubber band.


He’s got this phobia about subway zombies. Don’t ask. Plus he’s pretty terrified of Potted Plant Guy.



Character name: Potted Plant Guy PottedPlanGuy


Brief Physical Description:

Well, it’s going to be VERY brief, because no one has ever actually seen his face. He hides in a potted plant in the lobby of the Tidwell Towers apartment building. You can see his eyes though, and they are pure evil.


He has the ability to put curses on people who walk into the building. The curses always come true, too, though not in the way that you think they will.


We’re still trying to find out what they are.


Inspiration for your story

I noticed that my 7-year-old son was reading books for middle-graders. It wasn’t because he was an advanced reader either. He said he just liked those books better than most of the ones for his age group. Come to find out, a lot of his friends were reading those same middle-grade books too. Curious, I also read them. I could see the attraction. They were wry and subversive, and they made me laugh out loud on more than one occasion. The only problem was, they were dealing with middle-grade issues—crushes on girls, being popular, and other things that six- and seven-year old boys could give a hoot about. So I thought, what if a writer kept that tone but wrote about things that a seven-year-old did care about? Like Legos and ninjas and zombie tag.

Background for the story

While I was developing the character of Otis, I kept imagining him to be like Holden Caulfield from Catcher in the Rye . . .  if Holden were in the third grade. He’d be highly observant, dry, sometimes snarky, He’d also probably be obsessed with Legos, like every other third-grade boy I knew. The other thing I kept thinking about was Seinfeld. What if I created a series set in an apartment building? What if there were a core group of characters with big, quirky personalities? They bickered, yes, but they also had each other’s backs when things got hairy. And things would get hairy all the time.

Researching this book was a cinch. All I had to do was listen. I listened to the stories my son told me about the kids in school. I listened to the things that made him and his buddies laugh. I listened to backseat conversations and lunchroom arguments. And of course I listened to fart jokes. Lots and lots of fart jokes.

So What About the Giveaway?

We will be giving away a signed copy of Otis Dooda to one of our lucky readers. Simply post a comment below and we will be picking a winner at random on Thursday June 13, 2013 . Entries must be posted by midnight on Wednesday to be entered into the contest.

Good Luck and Happy Reading,

Suzanne Santillan

Writing on the Sidewalk

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