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From the I Am Otter series

by Sam Garton ; illustrated by Sam Garton

Pub Date: Jan. 24th, 2017
ISBN: 978-0-06-236667-2
Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Garton continues his popular series about roly-poly Otter (I Am Otter, 2014, etc.) with this simple story about the joys of eating Easter candy and sharing (or not) with others.

Otter (established as a female in previous stories) lives a childlike life with her white, adult owner, Otter Keeper, shown only in partial glimpses of legs or an arm. The other characters are Otter’s beloved, inanimate toys: a pig, a giraffe, and a limp teddy bear with X’s for eyes. On Easter morning, Otter gobbles up all the candy before breakfast even though she is told to share with her stuffed-animal friends. Feeling guilty, she transforms herself into the Easter Otter and prepares an elaborate Easter egg hunt. Candy-bright colors against white backgrounds capture Otter’s antics and expressions, leading up to a detailed, double-page spread of Otter’s backyard. The stuffed animals seem especially lifeless in this scene, lying flat on the ground until Otter drags them around to find the hidden eggs. In an unsatisfying conclusion, Otter states that the stuffed animals decided to “share” their eggs with her, and all the eggs are shown in a box labeled “Otter’s Eggs.” While this may be intended as wry humor, Otter’s selfish attitude and self-satisfied declaration that she’s “saved Easter” give this story a sour flavor rather than the lighthearted, humorous sweetness that made previous Otter stories successful.

A holiday tie-in that fails to deliver.

(Picture book. 4-7)