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Otter and Odder: A Love Storyby James Howe
Synopses & Reviews
When an otter falls in love with a fish, can he dare to follow his heart? A delicious ode to nonconformity from a stellar picture-book pair.
The day Otter found love, he wasnt looking for it. He was looking for dinner. But then he gazed into the round, sweet, glistening eyes of Myrtle the fish, and he knew. "Impossible," he said. "I am in love with my food source." As for Myrtle, her first desire was: Please dont eat me. But soon her heart awakened to a future she could never have imagined. The inseparable duo played hide-and-seek and told each other stories, but everyone said that was not the way of the otter. Could their love (and Myrtle) possibly survive? Aided by Chris Raschkas illustrations in a fresh faux-naïf style, James Howe tells a warm, witty tale about finding kindred spirits in the oddest of places-and having the good sense to keep them.
"Love at first sight befalls a hungry otter and the fish he intends to eat for dinner. Soul-searching ensues. 'I am in love with my food source,' the dismayed otter admits, gazing into Myrtle's 'round, sweet, glistening eyes.' Otter's carnivorous friends mutter, 'It isn't natural,' and Otter has no answer when Myrtle asks, 'But must you eat my friends? My family?' Rather than receive an automatic 'happily ever after,' Otter has to explore alternative menu options to keep his true love by his side. While Howe (Brontorina) speaks to younger readers with this 'odder' romance, the important questions it raises wouldn't be out of place in his middle-grade fiction. To be fair, the male meat-eater holds the cards in this relationship, although Myrtle returns Otter's affections after an initial flight instinct. Raschka, who also merged the existential and the piscine in Arlene Sardine, provides abstract and wonderfully childlike crayon-and-watercolor images of a serpentine brook, rippling and meandering as the otter and fish cavort. Howe's story reaches beyond its target audience and presents a lovely, unpreachy allegory for relationships that fall outside the mainstream. Ages 6 — 10. Illustrator's agent: Brenda Bowen, Sanford J. Greenburger Associates." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
About the Author
James Howe is the acclaimed and beloved author of scores of books for young readers, including Brontorina, illustrated by Randy Cecil; the E. B. White Read Aloud Award-winning Houndsley and Catina and its sequels, illustrated by Marie-Louise Gay; and The Misfits, the book that inspired national No Name-Calling Week. James Howe lives in New York State.
Chris Raschka, winner of the 2012 Caldecott Medal for A Ball for Daisy, is the acclaimed illustrator of many books for children, including I Pledge Allegiance by Bill Martin Jr. and Michael Sampson; Dylan Thomass A Childs Christmas in Wales; The Grasshoppers Song by Nikki Giovanni; and A Poke in the I, A Kick in the Head, and A Foot in the Mouth, all edited by Paul B. Janeczko. Chris Raschka lives in New York City.
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