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Children's Fiction Friendship

Otto and Pio (Read aloud book for children about friendship and family)

by (author) Marianne Dubuc

Chronicle Books
Initial publish date
Mar 2019
Recommended Age
5 to 8
Recommended Grade
k to 3
Recommended Reading age
5 to 8
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Mar 2019
    List Price

Classroom Resources

Where to buy it


"It has a terrific message about the importance of family and how to care for those you love. An excellent and timeless selection for all picture book shelves."—School Library Journal, STARRED Review

Otto the squirrel is perfectly content living by himself in his treehouse in the forest, when a small creature arrives on his doorstep. Otto invites the curious little Pio in, but soon Pio eats all the hazelnuts, takes up the entire bed, and just gets bigger and bigger! Frustrated at first, Otto comes to realize that his home is much happier with his new friend.

Award-winning author and illustrator Marianne Dubuc has written a heart-warming tale about finding friendship and family when it is expected least and needed most.

"This tender look at the value of taking care of each other quietly considers the meaning of home and family."—The Horn Book Magazine

Read our other award-winning books by Marianne Dubuc:

  • Up the Mountain Path
  • The Fish and the Cat

About the author

Marianne Dubuc studied visual arts and graphic design before beginning her career as an award-winning author and illustrator. In Front of My House, originally published in French as Devant ma maison , is her first book to be published in English. Marianne lives in Montreal, Quebec.

Marianne Dubuc's profile page

Editorial Reviews

"Marianne Dubuc's newest story, Otto and Pio, is a charming take on finding friendship and family when you least expect it. Your kids will laugh at the friendship these characters share."
- Cool Mom Picks

"The soft, warm watercolor and colored-pencil palette of the forest and Otto's home provides the perfect backdrop to diffuse tension within this developing friendship. Full of funny moments and details, the full-page illustrations and spot art move the plot along, while well-placed double-page spreads pause the tale to heighten its emotion. This tender look at the value of taking care of each other quietly considers the meaning of home and family."
- The Horn Book Magazine

In this quiet story by Dubuc (Up the Mountain Path), the unidentified creature who appears in front of squirrel Otto's tree trunk dwelling isn't just uninvited, he's inconvenient... Slowly, Otto realizes that Pio is generous and helpful. And when Pio rescues him from a frightening predator, he decides that it might be worth making room to accommodate his new friend. Dubuc doesn't insist that readers warm right up to new or strange situations. It takes a long time, sometimes, for creatures to learn to love each other.
- Publishers Weekly Starred Review

"Marianne Dubuc's delightful tale of oddball friendship and unexpected domesticity."
- The Wall Street Journal

"Dubuc's soft watercolor-and-pencil illustrations unfold as individual scenes-often two per page-that trace Otto's fruitless search and Pio's astonishing growth, which poses a whole new set of problems. Pio steadily turns Otto's house into a home by cleaning, decorating, and making soup while Otto is away. These small acts are heartwarming for readers and Otto alike, effectively demonstrating how love and family can come in all shapes and sizes."
- Booklist

"A family tale that teaches children how love makes a home. Dubuc has created a simple and beautiful story that is perfectly matched with her intricate illustrations. The colors are soft and bright, giving readers a warm fuzzy feel­ing as they travel through the story. The entire book is clean and simple, not too difficult to follow, and explains an often-complex rela­tionship in the best way possible. This engag­ing read-aloud will warm children's hearts. It has a terrific message about the importance of family and how to care for those you love. An excellent and timeless selec­tion for all picture book shelves."
- School Library Journal (STARRED Review)

" The pacing and feelings ring true in this heartwarming depiction of someone accustomed to being the center of his universe but who responds to the impulse of hospitality and friendship."
- Kirkus Reviews

"This book is a lovely reminder that you don't need to be related to be family."
- Bookish

Other titles by Marianne Dubuc