The age-old trope of an animal following someone home is taken to new levels in this look at an otter out of water.
An otter in the water is a fascinating creature, but what if he leaves the water? What if he stays out and follows you home? Two children experience just such a thing in Wargin’s imaginative verse. A ranger finally tracks the otter to the children’s house, but will he stay away? Probably not—too much fun has been had. Unfortunately, the verse doesn’t always scan well either rhythmically or visually; the rhyming words are set in a larger font, but some are on the right-hand pages and some on the left, and often lines are split in two to fit the page layout. The result is often confusing and may trip readers up instead of helping them along. “What if the otter / remains in your house? / Would he bounce / on the chairs? / Would he skid / down the stairs? // Would he swing / on the curtains / that hang in / neat pairs? / Do you think an otter belongs in the house?” This otter is sure to remind readers of the beloved mouse from If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, but this tries too hard to rhyme, and the story gets a bit lost in the telling.
Stick with Numeroff for her if-then tales, and look to Eric Pinder and Marc Brown’s If All the Animals Came Inside and Judi Barrett’s romps for more animals-acting-like-people humor. (Picture book. 3-7)