Bruel, Robert O. 1929-2002

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Bruel, Robert O. 1929-2002


Born 1929; died 2002; children: Nick Bruel.




Bob and Otto, illustrated by son Nick Bruel, Roaring Brook Press (New Milford, CT), 2007.


The manuscript for Robert O. Bruel's picture book Bob and Otto was discovered after the author's death and illustrated by Bruel's son, illustrator and author Nick Bruel. The story centers on two friends who are very much alike, until nature changes their paths. Bob and Otto spend their days together doing the same things, until one day when Bob has a sudden urge to climb a tree. He invites his best friend to join him, but Otto declines the invitation in favor of sticking to the established routine. Now while Otto eats and furrows through the dirt, treebound Bob nibbles and naps, hanging in a cocoon for many days. In his illustrations, Nick Bruel details the two friends' separate paths by using a horizontal split screen to illustrate the different activities of each, As the story progresses, the true nature of each friend is revealed: Bob transforms into a yellow butterfly, and Otto is discovered to be an earthworm. While Otto has feelings of envy and regrets not joining Bob in his tree, his fluttering friend reassures him that his role as an earthworm is very important since he aerates the earth.

In School Library Journal Nancy Kunz, wrote that Bob and Otto effectively illustrates that "friends don't always have to so the same things, and that their actions can complement one anothers." Danielle J. Ford in a review of the Bruels' story for Horn Book, called the father-and son collaboration a "sweet tale about the importance of accepting who you are," and a Kirkus Reviews critic called Bob and Otto "just the right mix of worm's-eye view and big picture."

Biographical and Critical Sources


Booklist, April 1, 2007, Julie Cummins, review of Bob and Otto, p. 55.

Horn Book, May-June, 2007, Danielle J. Ford, review of Bob and Otto, p. 262.

Kirkus Reviews, March 1, 2007, review of Bob and Otto, p. 217.

Publishers Weekly, April 16, 2007, review of Bob and Otto, p. 49.

School Library Journal, April, 2007, Nancy Kunz, review of Bob and Otto, p. 94.