Monday, August 22, 2016

Nonfiction Monday: Otters love to play by Jonathan London, illustrated by Meilo So

I've felt ambivalent about some of London's previous nonfiction picture books, but I embrace this one whole-heartedly.

The bold text of the main narrative describes a family of otters who have moved into an old beaver lodge. "It's spring, and in a nest of moss, leaves, and grass, three newborn otter babies drink warm rich milk at their mother's teats." Frequent references to play behavior accompanies the descriptions of the otter pups' antics as they grow, learn, and live through the seasons. In addition to the primary text, there is a running narrative of information in a smaller font, explaining the instincts and reasons behind the otters' playful behavior and giving additional otter facts. There is an additional "About Otters" section at the back with more facts and a brief index.

Meilo So's playful watercolors really make the book, with frolicking brown otters, whiskers quivering, leaping, sliding and pouncing across the pages. The seasons glow with color and detail, from the cool greens and blues of spring to the chilly white and grays of winter.

Verdict: The layout follows that of Candlewick's series about Australian animals and leads me to hope there will be more books from different authors and illustrators about all kinds of animals! I love the juxtaposition of the bolder text, for reading aloud, and smaller text for more information for older listeners and readers. This delightful story will be loved by children and parents alike. Highly recommended.

ISBN: 9780763669133; Published 2016 by Candlewick; Borrowed from another library in my consortium

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