Otto Grows Down: Careful what you wish for

My son is most likely going to be an only child, which means sibling rivalry is like a big ole mystery box to him. I think he’s vaguely jealous of friends with younger brothers, mildly amused by little sisters, but perhaps mostly relieved that he doesn’t have to worry that his Playmobil collection will end up covered in slobber and snot.

In Otto Grows Down, Otto is in the midst of his 6th birthday festivities when his brand spanking new little sister Anna decides to steal the spotlight with a crying fit. Hoping to calm her down, Otto’s parents ask him to jingle a rattle for her. And not just any rattle: Otto’s special rattle from when he was a baby. I have to say, I’m kinda with Otto on this one–move that screaming baby away from the darn cake and give the birthday kid his special moment. Sheesh.

Ah well, Otto subconsciously takes matters into his own hands. Oh, he’s gonna shake that rattle, but he’s also gonna simultaneously wish his sister had never been born. Boom, how d'you like them apples? 

Here’s Otto making his wish, and his expression is one reason I love this book. 

With that silent wish, Otto just messed with time-space continuum, Einstein-style. Suddenly, everything starts going all wonky. (I wonder if Otto’s birthday watch is available in my size.)

And it lasts long after the birthday party’s over. Like, Otto gets a haircut, but comes out with longer hair.

He goes into the bath clean, and comes out dirty.

And, ruh-roh, even going to the bathroom is crazytown.

A week later, Anna’s is delivered back to the hospital, and Otto’s angst starts to get to him:

But Anna’s not the only one getting younger. Eventually, Otto finds himself celebrating his 5th birthday. Then his 4th. Then his 3rd. Each year, he tries to undo his wish but each year, it gets harder and harder because of his deteriorating ability to speak.

Well, praise be, Otto comes up with the right formula at the last possible moment – his first birthday party. Phew. Anna comes back, Otto is six again, and their parents smile in blissful ignorance in the background.

It’s a super-cool book, especially the charming and slyly funny illustrations.

My only mom-esque worry is whether a kid who has secretly wished a little bro or sis into non-existance (and let’s face it, haven’t we all?) – will be scared sh*tless that their thoughts will have serious consequences. On the other hand, maybe it shows kids that being jealous of a sibling is totally normal. Well, since I like this book, I’m going with the latter.

Available here.

Some images from Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast.


Check the last fucking trick. Dylan Thompsons 630 on, same way 2 out. 


tuesday february 15th; Danny and I walked the trails at Magoon Creek to check out the sunset. It was so beautiful. But I’m scared shitless of the woods and walking back in the dark was no picnic. And I broke my lens mount again. 

Worth it.

But then we went back to my house, got in our sweats and through our wet socks and jeans on the heater. We watched a couple movies while indulging ourselves with ceasar salad, pasta, burgers, and popcorn. Yeah.