Saturday, July 2, 2022

Summer Reading 2022 The Perfect Rock and The Secret Life of the Sea Otter

Full of vibrant colors and adorable little otters, this picture book captures the watery world of sea otters and their habitat. Readers will see three young otters swimming, sliding, munching on shellfish, and searching for the perfect rock. As their parents explain, every otter needs a rock of their own to break open the shells and reach the food they enjoy.  But when the perfect rock is found, there is only one and they don't want to share. 

Author Sarah Noble adds a little ocean flair to some common phrases, helping to establish the setting and offering some humor for adults who are helping young readers with the book. For instance, the story begins with, "Every otter worth their sea salt knows the perfect rock is hard to find." And when the youngsters look for their own rocks, "They search high tide and low tide."

As illustrator, Noble also has some fun with the way the text and images work together.  When the narrative mentions that they "venture through forests,"  it is actually kelp forests that they swim through rather than walkig through forests of trees. When they "glide through skies," they actually swim through reflections of clouds on the surface of the water. And when they "spy a funny-looking fish," readers will see it is a scuba diver who watches the otters swim by. 

The colors capture beautiful blue waters; starfish, seaweed, and sea urchins appear in splashes of pinks and blues; and darker shades show the cool gray rocks, outlines of fish slipping past, and that curious scuba diver's wetsuit. Throughout the book, the warm, brown otters keep the attention of readers with their antics.

This book is due out August 2 and would be wonderful to pair with a nonfiction text like The Secret Life of the Sea Otter by Laurence Pringle.

Laurence Pringle has a series of books exploring the lives of various aniamls such as the sloth, the skunk, the little brown bat. The latest explores the habitat and habits of the sea otter, Enhydra lutris.  Informative text combines with detailed illustrations to bring to life the young otter as she searches for food, hides from sharks, and cares for her pup. Readers will see the strong back legs and webbed feet, the whiskers that help locate food in the dark water, and how the otters cling to each other for safety during storms. Pringle strikes the perfect balance between providing scientific facts and making the otter an appealing character for readers to engage with.

Back matter includes two pages of more information about sea otter, a glossary, and a list of more books for the curious to read. An excellent addition to school library collections, helpful for those looking at the various types of wildlife in different ecosystems.

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