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“Playing is fun, but otters play with a purpose.” – Otters Love to Play
Otters Love to Play
Read and Wonder
by Jonathan London
5 – 9
On the edge of a river sits a neat pile of sticks, leaves, and grass. Last year, this was a beaver lodge, but now, in spring, it has become the home of a new family of otters! Inside this otter den, a mother otter feeds her three newborn pups (the pups’ father, readers will learn, is chased away by the mother after the pups are born). Readers will follow the mother otter as she shows the pups how to swim, hunt for fish, and perhaps the most important lesson for an otter pup – how to play!
Written by the author of Froggy and nature-lover Jonathan London, Otters Love to Play is a quick and straightforward book that educates readers on the early lives of otters. While readers may already know that otters live in dens and hunt for fish, they may be surprised to learn that the species’ powerful tails and waterproof fur allow them to swim faster than Olympic swimmers! Each page features the otters learning something new – from walking to swimming. With each new thing the pups learn, the reader also learns a fact about the otters which are at the bottom of every other page. For example, while the story shows how fiercely protective otter mothers are of their pups, a note at the bottom of the page explains how adult otters can run up to eighteen miles an hour on snow, making them intimidating forces to predators.
Otters Love to Play is brought to life by the illustrations of Meilo So. Throughout the book, readers witness the pups as they experience each season for the first time. So’s beautiful mix of colors gives life and variety to each season. Pages set in spring are painted with beautiful swabs of pink and purple skies, filling the reader with the same wonder felt by the pups, while pages set in winter are made with harsh whites and grays, sharing the idea of brutal climates and perilous conditions endangering the pups. All these illustrations are brightened by So’s adorable drawings of the otters, which are sure to delight readers of all ages.
Even though Otters Love to Play is intended for younger readers, the story is intended to be read aloud to a child, rather than for the child to read it for the first time independently. As part of the Read and Wonder Series, Otters Love to Play introduces readers to natural history and fascinating facts that show how wonderful the natural world is. If you are looking for a book that educates young readers on a fascinating species while also providing plenty of fun and cute moments, Otters Love to Play is an excellent choice. Readers who love the ocean should jump in and read Way Down Deep in the Deep Blue Sea by Jan Peck.
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