Otter and Odder

12 Feb

otter and odderOtter and Odder: A Love Story written by James Howe and illustrated by Chris Raschka is a delightful picture book about love – perfect for Valentine’s Day.  Although a bit too long for a toddler story time, this simple book about the strength of love would work very well for early elementary school age children or even older children (maybe in addition to Romeo and Juliet). 

Otter went looking for dinner one day and instead found the love of his life a fish named Gurgle, or Myrtle as that is how Otter heard it and together they swam together, played hide-and-go-seek together, and told each other stories.  Pretty soon the other animals began to talk and Otter and Myrtle decide to go their separate ways.  Eventually, wise, old Beaver is able to help the couple “and they lived happily ever after.”

The text and artwork combine to create a true love story.  Chris Raschka, who received a Caldecott medal for A Ball for Daisy,  has a very child-like illustration method using watercolors and crayons.  A wonderful art lesson could be incorporated with this story for young children where they could illustrate their own love story between two characters who “shouldn’t” love each other.

Other books that could complement this would include a number of tales, based on true stories, such as Owen and Mzee, Tarra and Bella, or A Friend for Einstein, the Smallest Stallion.  All of these true stories are based on animals that shouldn’t be friends in the wild like a tortoise and a hippo, an elephant and a dog, and a dog and a horse.

This is such a great story about love and can be used in so many ways.  Enjoy!  I wasn’t able to find personal website for either the author or illustrator, but if you do a search on either – there is plenty of information available.

Title: Otter and Odder: A Love Story
Author: James Howe
Illustrator: Chris Raschka
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Publication Date: 2012

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