Review Blog

Apr 30 2013

Seababy : a little otter returns home by Ellen Levine

cover image

Ill. by Jon Van Zyle. Bloomsbury, 2013. ISBN 978 0 8027 9808 4.
(Age: 5+) Recommended. Picture book. Animals. Family. A charming tale of a lost sea otter, separated from his mother when the seas become rough, but taken by humans to a rescue haven, where he is nursed back to health and then put into a larger pool with an older female otter who teaches him how to fend for himself. The survival skills necessary for this baby otter are shown clearly from the skills taught by his mother, to the care taken by the humans and then the skills taught by the surrogate mother. Each shows readers very distinctly how an otter survives and the sorts of things they need to keep themselves alive and safe.
The otters must learn how to dive to find food on the bottom of the sea, bringing up clams to open by smacking their shells on rocks placed on their stomachs. And at night he must pull together some seaweed to create a bed on which to lie in the rolling sea.
The happily descriptive illustrations show contented otter lazing around on their seaweed beds, and also the skills taught them by the older otters. A reader can be in o doubt about how these little animals survive whilst at the end of the book, a page of information is given detailing the work of the Californian Monterey Bay Aquarium, along with further references and websites for students to pursue their research.  This book is a happy mix of story and information.
Fran Knight

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