“Otis Dooda: Strange But True” by Ellen Potter; Feiwel and Friends; $13.99 (Publication June 4).

The author of the best-selling Olivia Kidney books puts her imagination and offbeat sense of humor in overdrive in this entertaining, wacky tale of a boy who moves to New York City and the bizarre people he encounters in his new apartment building. Otis Dooda (called such terrible nicknames as Otis Doo Doo, Otis Toilet Twinkie and Otis Chewbacca Chunks) and his family have to move to the city after his father gets a new job and their new home is on the top floor of a 35-story apartment building called Tidwell Towers. Older brother Gunther loves his pet rat Smoochie but spends a lot of his time picking on Otis (calling him “Lego nerd,” etc.).

Among the strange new neighbors are a boy who hides in the potted plant in the lobby and tells Otis he is going to break all his bones; crabby Miss Yabby who gives Otis the “stink-eye” and posts rude notices about the Doodas in the hallway; and the Hooper family that makes a living putting on circuses at birthday parties, keeps a miniature pony, disguised as a dog, in their apartment, and practices shooting kids from a cannon into a swimming pool full of marshmallow fluff. Then there are the pink and blue “Poodles of Mass Destruction.”

Other stories by this author: “The Humming Room,” an update of “The Secret Garden,” and “The Kneebone Boy.”

– Jean Westmoore


The Theatre of Youth will present “The Musical Adventures of Flat Stanley” beginning at 7 p.m. Friday in the Allendale Theatre, 203 Allen St. The production will continue at 2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays through June 2 (no performances May 26 and 27). Tickets are $24-$26. For information, call 884-4400, Ext. 301.


The Berlin Wall divided West Berlin and East Berlin during much of the Cold War. After World War II, Berlin and Germany were divided. The Soviet Union and its allies controlled East Germany and East Berlin. The United States and its allies controlled West Germany and West Berlin. On Aug. 13, 1961, the East German government built a wall to stop those living in East Berlin from escaping to the West. On Nov. 9, 1989, the Berlin Wall came down when communism began to lose its influence in Eastern Europe.

Time for Kids: Big Book of Why