We have been reading and enjoying Otter’s stories and musings on her blog for a while and we were very excited when we heard that (with Sam Garton’s help!) she has written a picture book, I Am Otter, which also includes her best friend Teddy and a patchwork Giraffe.
The Story: Otter Keeper finds Otter in a box on his doorstep. At the weekends they have lots of fun but Otter isn’t happy on Mondays when Otter Keeper has to go to work. Otter decides she wants to work too so (with Teddy’s help) she opens a toast restaurant. The day doesn’t go well! Teddy forgets to make reservations and gets orders wrong so Otter fires him and employs Giraffe instead. When Otter Keeper gets home Otter blames Teddy for the mess and chaos but Teddy is nowhere to be found. After searching all night they find Teddy and Otter is happy again.
Otter is a very loveable protagonist but she is very reluctant to take the blame when anything goes wrong, preferring to shift it to Teddy (or Giraffe). Opening her own business shows her entrepreneurial spirit and her preparation includes reading recipe books and training Teddy to make perfect toast (we love the signs that she makes to show him the difference between ‘perfekt’ and ‘wrong’ toast!). On opening day a long queue of toys is waiting but they don’t have any money. There are so many wonderful details in the pictures which show the ensuing chaos (including toys who have complained being thrown out of the window!). My daughter finds Teddy’s interpretation of the orders very funny and spends ages looking at all the details on the double spread which shows a wonderfully messy kitchen.
Otter tells her story in a very easy to read text. I love the way that her surroundings and experiences are familiar to children but the inclusion of a toast restaurant gives the familiarity a humorous twist. The illustrations are beautiful splashes of colour with lots of white space, there is so much to laugh at that it is impossible to choose a favourite picture and Sam Garton has captured a range of expressions on Otter’s face (we love her frown!). My daughter’s favourite picture shows Otter and Teddy doing a show (Otter Keeper doesn’t look too impressed by Otter’s singing!) and I love the pictures of Otter reading (she often holds her books upside down!). We also like the signs that she writes (but she does need to practise her spelling!).
I Am Otter is an amusing, beautifully illustrated story which is perfect to read at bedtime.
Age Range: 3 +
Thank you to author / illustrator Sam Garton for sending us a review copy of the book. We look forward to reading more of Otter’s adventures.