Kirkus Reviews QR Code
I AM OTTER by Sam Garton Kirkus Star


From the Otter series

by Sam Garton ; illustrated by Sam Garton

Age Range: 3 - 6

Pub Date: April 29th, 2014
ISBN: 978-0-06-224775-9
Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

A bright and hilarious escapade about an otter who, bored while her owner’s at work, opens a toast restaurant.

Otter lives happily in a house with Otter Keeper, a youthful human adult, and Teddy, a stuffed bear. Her only disappointment is the news that arrives every Monday: Otter Keeper must go to work. Stopping time (by placing the clock in a fish tank) doesn’t prevent Otter Keeper’s departure, and why don’t Otter and Teddy have their own jobs anyway? Clearly, they need to open a toast restaurant. Chaos builds, with all blame assigned to Teddy. The hapless bear forgets to take reservations, causing a long line of impatient toys, and gets orders wrong—burned toast, unpeeled banana, a restaurant patron spread with jam and set on a plate. Underneath these jokes runs a broader one: Otter’s first-person narration imbues Teddy (and the other toys) with consciousness and agency, though readers see that Teddy’s an inanimate stuffed animal who needs propping to even sit up. Preschoolers will love the notion that Teddy’s at fault for the accumulating mess, especially when—after only small- and medium-size spot illustrations surrounded by relaxing white space—the kitchen suddenly explodes into a riotous full-bleed spread of mayhem. Garton’s cartoon-style digital illustrations are rich with clear, medium-saturation colors, with shading and texture as highlights.

Hysterical. (Picture book. 3-6)