Age Range: 4 to 8
We were surprised when we heard that Otter was planning to be a teacher. Although it is a very enjoyable and fulfilling job, teaching can be stressful at times so we were eager to see how she would cope in the classroom. Those of you who already know Otter will know that she has her own unique and often humorous way of tackling a situation and she certainly ensured that her pupils enjoyed a varied curriculum while enjoying a fun day at school!
The Story: When Otter finds out that Otter Keeper is clever because he went to school she decides that she will open a school too. Giraffe, Pig and Teddy join her in the classroom where she teaches them maths, music and reads stories. By lunchtime Teddy is sad because he thinks everybody is cleverer than him so Otter consults Otter Keeper who helps her to help Teddy find something that he is good at. Luckily in the final lesson of the day Teddy does find something that he can do well and he gets lots of gold stars!
We love Otter’s self confidence and her eagerness to throw herself into new ventures. The originality of her maths lesson makes us laugh and we were really pleased that Giraffe got gold stars for his efforts in the lesson. Teddy didn’t seem to enjoy story time although Otter did lots of voices and we laughed at Giraffe and Pig using their newly learnt skills at lunchtime (we don’t want to spoil the story by giving too much away!).
Sam Garton’s wonderful illustrations are bold splashes of colour amid lots of white space on the page. Many of the pages have several smaller illustrations and they all contain so much humour that it is really hard to choose a favourite. Otter’s school takes place at home and she uses many familiar items from the toybox, especially in her music lesson. I love the pictures showing Otter getting everybody ready for school, especially when she helps Teddy, Giraffe and Pig to clean their teeth! The way that Pig travels to school makes me laugh too! My daughter laughed all the way through the story, but she found Otter’s teacher outfit particularly funny and Pig’s participation in the music lesson very amusing!
This is a very entertaining, funny story which also reflects the more emotional aspects of going to school. It’s great that Sam has also acknowledged that for some children saying goodbye to a parent at the beginning of the school day can be hard and the way that he portrays the message that everybody is good at something is brilliant. This is definitely a book that we would add to our list of Stories to Prepare Children for Their First Day of School. If you are looking to inject fun and humour into a first day of school situation this is definitely the book for you!
Author / Illustrator: Sam Garton
You can read Otter’s online stories on her website. We enjoy reading about her adventures with her playroom friends and her unique approaches to familiar situations!