So many times I have found that the most poignant messages for all of us are found in children’s picture books. This is the case with Otto, by Tony Ungerer. The subtitle of the book is The autobiography of a teddy bear.
This beautiful story begins in Germany before the second world war. David receives a teddy bear and he and his friend Oskar enjoy many happy times. But David is Jewish. As he and his family are hauled away, he leaves Otto with Oskar. In a bombing raid, Oskar’s home is demolished and he is separated from his little friend. Otto is picked up by an American G.I. and has a few more adventures before travelling to the United States, and being loved by a little girl. Eventually, Otto finds himself lonely, on the shelf of an antique store, watching the world go by. Otto has one distinguishing feature, a large ink stain on his face. It is because of this stain that many years later, Oskar recognizes him, and eventually the three childhood friends are reunited.
This is a story of lifelong friendship and is certain to bring tears to the eyes of any child, regardless of age.