A sea otter pup grows up.
Jonathan London, whose Otters Love to Play, illustrated by Meilo So (2016), introduced North American river otters to young readers, turns his attention to sea otters of the North Pacific Ocean. This gentle story tells how a pup born off the California coast is nurtured by its mother for 8 months until he is able to eat on his own and can join a raft of other young male sea otter pups. (What happens to the females is a logical but unanswered question.) The author describes how Mama nurses, grooms, and feeds her baby, how she wraps him in kelp to secure him while she’s foraging, stores her food in a convenient arm pocket and uses a stone as a tool to crack a shell, and how she teaches him to forage. There’s one encounter with a predator: a near miss with a shark. The lyrical text is presented in short sections of three or four lines, often followed by an onomatopoeic word or phrase set in display type. Hand-painted images by Sean London, the author’s son, illustrate the story realistically and faithfully, concentrating on mother and pup, emphasizing their bond. The water, with its changing colors, acts as a pleasing background. An author’s note supplies further information, but there is no index.
Aimed at a slightly younger audience than author London’s river otter book, this provides an agreeable introduction. (Informational picture book. 2-6)