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Otto Tattercoat and the Forest of Lost Things

Woods, Matilda

The bitterly cold town of Hodeldorf is not the kind of place that Otto is excited to move to, but his mother believes her talent for sewing coats will secure the two of them a good, happy life there. Luck doesn’t seem to have followed the boy, though, for on his second day in Hodeldorf, his coat is stolen off his back, and his mother fails to return to the inn, eventually forcing the innkeeper to turn Otto away. When a girl finds him shivering in an alley, she tricks him into going to Frau Ferber’s factory, where he and other children are forced to work filling jars with black boot polish—using only their hands. Frau Ferber proves a Roald Dahl–level villain, and the outlook for Otto is bleak until he escapes into Hodeldorf’s community of Tattercoats. These scrappy street kids live by a respectable code, promising to never steal more than they need, and Nim takes Otto under her wing, vowing to help him find his mother. Wood (The Girl Who Sailed the Stars, 2019) spins another frosty tale of magic and bravery that offers high stakes without becoming too scary. Readers will love seeing kids triumph over the heartless frau, and the story’s other, more fantastical mysteries give the book extra sparkle.