Book Review: Do Unto Otters
Do Unto Otters: A Book About Manners
by Laurie Keller
Henry Holt and Company
(Reviewer pulls out clipboard and pencil)
Alright everyone! Looks like we’ve got ourselves the new Laurie Keller book here. I’m just going to go down the list for a second to make sure everything is accounted for:
Aside-happy artwork that will take multiple readings to fully absorb? Check.
Voices given to usually nonspeaking main characters? Uh-huh.
Silliness in spades? Yep.
Clever storyline that will appeal to kids and adults alike? Well…
(Reviewer quietly puts clipboard and pencil down in order to speak frankly)
Well, you see, that’s where I get just a bit hung up on this one. Let me explain.
Our story begins with Mr. Rabbit hopping through the woods, heading home to his comfortable tree hole. Once there, he runs into his new neighbors – the Otters. Mr. Rabbit is worried; he doesn’t know much about otters and is nervous about how they will get along. To the rescue comes Mr. Owl, who provides a twist on the old golden rule. He asks Mr. Rabbit to list some of the good qualities he would like to see in Otters. Friendliness, honesty, and kindness all make the list, to name a few, with each characteristic illustrated in Keller’s signature humorous fashion.
You see, Do Unto Otters is really more of a how-to guide than a story. And as a how-to, it succeeds – taking a subject of universal importance and making it fresh and entertaining. While it doesn’t hit the highs I was anticipating, Do Unto Otters is still 3 out of 4 by me – nothing to mope about.
Filed under: Reviews
About Travis Jonker
Travis Jonker is an elementary school librarian in Michigan. He writes reviews (and the occasional article or two) for School Library Journal and is a member of the 2014 Caldecott committee. You can email Travis at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.
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