An Elegant, Exciting, and Positive Racing Story: Otto and the Grand Prix Bees Written and Illustrated by Kip Noschese

Otto & the Grand Prix Bees  Written and Illustrated by Kip Noschese

You can also see if your local library has a copy at

Ages 2 – 99+. (My three-year-old son loves this book.) Three Lanterns. July 2013. 32 pages. ISBN: 978-0615798370.  Fiction.

At a Glance:

I really love this book and so does my son and husband.  We received this book several months ago and my son has often pulled the book down and either asked me to read it to him or I will find him reading it to himself. (I would have reviewed this book sooner, but having a new baby has kept me busy.)  The illustrations are gorgeous, and the story is simple, wonderful, and happy.  This book has everything that makes a good story:  a wise mentor, a challenge to overcome, a race, and someone facing a fear and being successful.  It’s an ideal picture book and I’m so glad that this book found us.  We will be happily reading this book for years to come.

Why You Should Read this Book:

  • The story is wonderful!  It is positive, happy, and shows Otto overcoming both fear and a setback.
  • The illustrations are absolutely beautiful.  The story is set in Italy and captures the elegance of a different time and place.
  • The writing and vocabulary are excellent.
  • There is nothing objectionable about the story.  No villains, no obnoxious people, and no behavior that warrants a discussion about how not to behave.
  • You can read this book with anyone.  Grandma? Teenagers? Yes.  It’s a lot of fun.
  • My son has developed a fear of bees (I don’t know why.) and I’ve referenced Otto several times to my son as a way to reassure him.  It helps a lot.

My whole family highly recommends this book. We think you will really enjoy it.

Summary of the Story:

Meet Otto.  He lives in beautiful Italy.  He loves racing and is only afraid of bees.  Otto’s mentor and former race car driver, Vittorio, convinces him to restore an old racing car and to train hard.  After months of preparing, Otto enters his first race.  During the race Otto is forced to swerve and is in a car accident.  Otto is okay, but the car is not.  Otto is surrounded by bees and he runs away seeking help.  He comes to a seemingly abandoned garage and waits for whoever works there to return.  He falls asleep waiting only to wake up to a swarm of bees in the garage!  However, once he finds his car in the garage — he realizes these are no ordinary bees.  These bees do it all.  They can make honey, blueprints for a better racing car, and fix the car themselves.  (Pretty handy.)  The bees repair his wrecked racing car and make it so that it now runs on bee power.  (No nasty exhaust fumes here.)  The newly repaired and renamed B-3 is entered into a race and they are victorious!  It’s an exciting story.

How My Three-Year-Old Boy Responded to this Book:

I don’t know how many times my son asked me to read this book to him when we received it — too many to count.  He is completely enthralled with this book and both my husband and I have been only too happy to read and reread it to him.  Because of this book he’s picked up the phrase, “Blasted Gaskets” and uses that as an expletive when something doesn’t go his way.  I think it’s wonderful and have started using the phrase myself.  After reading this book, I’ve also noticed that when my son is playing and pretending to repair a vehicle, he uses phrases like, “I’m straightening the axle.”  I’m thrilled with how this book has enriched my son’s pretend play.

Author/Illustrator Websites:

Other Reviews of this Book:


Where Obtained:  I received a review copy from the author.  No other compensation was received.  The opinions expressed here are my own.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

FTC Disclosures:  Some of the links in the post above are Amazon affiliate links. If you click on the link and purchase the book, I will receive an affiliate commission at no additional cost to you. Which goes to fund my family’s picture book habit.  It’s a vicious cycle, but we manage.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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