Monday, May 30, 2016
Otters Love to Play, written by Jonathan London and illustrated by Meilo So. Candlewick Press, Random House. 2016. $22.00 ages 4 and up
Comparing children with otters is likely to draw nods of agreement and understanding. Both love to play, and everyone loves to watch them. Jonathan London's new book is proof positive that an otter's playfulness holds tremendous appeal for those lucky enough to have the chance to just spend time watching what happens when they are left to their own devices ... and they choose to romp with gleeful abandon.
It is also a tale about an otter family. It's spring! They have moved into an old beaver lodge where three new babies have recently been born. The story's main text is conversational and very appealing.
the otter pups
Additional informative text is printed in a smaller font, and has a more scientific tone.
"Otters' whiskers are long and sensitive. They use them to feel along the bottom and inside cracks in rocks, searching for food. Otters' main food is fish, and they can eat a quarter of their body weight in a single day."
The mother is fully in charge of the care, comfort and teaching that will ensure her little ones are curious, thriving, and able to take care of themselves in the wild. It is a daunting job carried out with skill and purpose. Readers will learn a lot about these amiable, adaptable creatures as they listen to the text and pore carefully over the stunning illustrations.
The design is quite beautiful, made even more so by the talented Meilo So. Her watercolor artwork is full of color and lively expression. The lines flow as elegantly as the otters themselves, begging readers to spend extended time checking out every detail. Her celebration of the otter family is warm and moving.
An index and a further note will satisfy those wanting both to go back to their favorite pages, and to know more than the already adequate text has provided. A winning introduction to the 'most playful creatures of all wildlife', it deserves a place on bookshelves in classrooms, libraries and homes.
and one more: