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Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
O.K. Is Great is a preteen coming of age novel written and illustrated by David Tiefenthaler. Otis Kalshwonkee's been known by the nickname "OK" for as long as he can remember. He hates it because it seems to symbolize the fact that he's just average in everything he does. His big brother Stu is a gifted sports animal and can do everything better than he does. His sister Ella is a talented pianist and even composes her own songs. Otis is hoping that starting seventh grade in a new school will give him a chance to shine and forget about that nickname and everything it stands for, once and for all. His mom and dad are moving the family to a house in the suburbs, and the new school is for both junior and senior high students. This means, of course, that big brother Stu will make sure everyone knows about the nickname, but Otis still isn't giving up on his dream of being the greatest.
David Tiefenthaler's preteen novel, O.K. Is Great, is funny, inspirational and exciting all at once. Tiefenthaler's illustrations make this story feel like a graphic novel, even if it does have more words than one normally finds in that genre, and the drawings work so incredibly well with the plot. I loved the pictures of big brother Stu, especially the one illustrating the dreaded nocturnal elbow drop. Otis and Leo's training sessions are marvelous and the sports aspect of the story works wonderfully. Tiefenthaler also addresses the subject of bullying and cyber-bullying in a way that is supportive and positive. I had a lot of fun reading O.K. Is Great. Otis is an awesome character, and I'm hoping that the author will keep us up to date on Otis's further adventures. O.K. Is Great is most highly recommended.