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Ottoline and the Yellow Cat

ottlineandyellowcatChris Riddell

Macmillan Children’s Books

Age 7-9

Ottoline’s parents are collectors and spend most of their time travelling and so Ottoline spends a lot of time alone with only Mr Munro, a very hairy creature from a bog in Norway, for company. She is curious about other residents in her apartment block and likes solving mysteries. When she discovers a spate of burglaries and missing lapdogs Ottoline is keen to investigate.

Children will enjoy solving the mystery with Ottoline. The detailed illustrations of scenes in the story and the characters together with a wonderful array of maps, plans and postcards provide lots to talk about and enjoy.

This is a story to inspire children to find a disguise, a notebook and set off solving imaginary mysteries of their own.


Talk about the story

Which character do children find most interesting? Why have they chosen this character?

You might want to talk with your child about how Ottoline would feel when she receives the postcards from her parents. Is she lonely on her own?

Some of the vocabulary is likely to be unfamiliar, you could discuss words like ‘subterfuge’ and ‘pedigree’ and look them up in a dictionary. 

Naomi is 6 years old and is developing more and more independence as a reader. A short, illustrated novel like Ottoline is just right for her. She has become very interested in writers and illustrators so liked the idea that Chris Riddell was both the writer and illustrator of this book. She enjoyed the story and read it virtually in one go but has gone back to it since and read it again. She loved the idea that the main character, Ottoline was a detective. We looked at the video of Chris Riddell drawing the characters and she wanted to have a go herself.

Naomi loved the idea of having a disguise wardrobe Like Ottoline and enjoyed rummaging through her dressing up clothes to create different disguises.

Her favourite part was when Ottoline splatted the yellow cat with custard pies!

Naomi has recently joined the local library and loves having her own library card. On her first visit she looked out for more Ottoline  books to borrow.

Things to make and do

Dress up in disguise
Collect together some suitable clothes eg hats, gloves, scarves, sunglasses so that children can choose a disguise. A notebook and possibly a magnifying glass might complete the outfit so children can set about secretly looking for clues.  Take photos of your child dressed up in their favourite disguise.

Make a string picture
Make a picture of Mr Munroe. Children could paint the shape of his body and feet then when this is dry stick on string or wool for his hair

Role play
Role play a conversation with your child, with one of you as Ottoline and the other a news reporter, talking about her success in catching the yellow cat burglar.

News report
Write a news report about Ottoline’s success in solving the mystery. Here is a template. Children could include an interview with Ottoline and add their drawings or a photograph of them in disguise like Ottoline.

Find out more

Read more books by Chris Riddell 

Titles include:

Ottoline Goes to School

Ottoline and the Purple Fox

Goth Girl and the Ghost of a Mouse

A Great Big Cuddle with Michael Rosen

Fortunately the Milk with Neil Gaiman


Watch Chris Riddell draw Mr Munroe here: