O.K. IS GREAT
Written and Illustrated by David Tiefenthaler
Cover Design Robin Ludwig, Design, Inc.
What a great story for children in middle grades covering so many of the issues facing pre-teens and teens in today’s world. Issues covered are fitting in, cyberbullying, sibling rivalry, peer relationships, and moving. Otis Kashwonkee, (yes, that’s his name) goes by the nickname, O.K. That would be fine if it were not for the fact that Otis doesn’t seem to excel at anything and the O.K. initials indicate to Otis that he is just ordinary. When his parents tell him that they are moving to the suburbs, Otis must add a new problem, adjusting to new friends and a new school.
For the reader, many of these situations are funny simply because the things that happen are so bad they might be considered outrageous. Otis has to endure his older brother’s success on the high school football team and his younger sister’s talent with music, but he finally has made friends with Leo and Horace. They devise a plan to prove themselves important and successful by breaking seventh grade records physical fitness records and getting their names on “The Board of Beasts.” The story continues with a series of mishaps with fellow students, including Stephanie, “The Queen of Amazons,” who seems intent on making their lives miserable.
Will these three friends be able to overcome all obstacles and achieve their record-setting goals? Does life in seventh grade ever get better? The black and white drawings interspersed throughout the story enhance the text with humor. Boys and girls age eight and older will love this story; adults will laugh and cry as they remember similar experiences. Makes a great classroom read aloud for group discussion. Highly recommended.
Barbara Ann Mojica