Polar-opposite otters find camaraderie in this read-aloud.
Grumpy Milton and exuberant Odie are two adorable anthropomorphic otters on parallel ice-fishing pursuits. Dressed in muted greens and grays, Milton finds negativity in the old boot he fishes out of the frozen lake, criticizes his bait, and is less than enthused about crossing paths with the cheery Odie when Milton’s line tugs Odie’s fishing pole out of the water. With an exuberant, red-and-yellow plaid coat and bright blue hat and mittens, Odie sees possibilities and positives as readily as Milton can find the downside in anything. From their meeting, they learn about teamwork and experience a sweet role reversal after some success. While the pair of otters represents a type of emotional binary, the gently repetitive events in the story could well start conversations about ranges of emotions. Warmth is established through images of happy fish swimming beneath Odie (those beneath Milton match his glum mien), Odie’s genuine smile, and emphasized onomatopoeia. Large, unfussy black type creatively shifts to fill negative space or snowy white landscapes. Combine this with Grumpy Pants (2016) by Claire Messer or Bernice Gets Carried Away (2015) by Hannah E. Harrison for a trio of reads that can offer some giggles while exploring emotions and friendship.
Sunnily earnest. (Picture book. 4-7)