An otter and a butterfly—both passionate sea captains—become fast friends as they battle it out on the high seas.
Kelpy, an otter in the flesh but a sea captain in his heart, builds himself a boat and sets sail despite the pervasive mockery. Other otters laugh, human pirates laugh, sharks laugh, and even the waves laugh, but Kelpy sails onward, pursuing his dream (though shedding a few tears). Then, on the horizon he spies another pirate. But this time it is a diminutive butterfly (with a hilarious loop-over-the-nonexistent-ears beard) in a tiny boat who exclaims: “I be Blistering Blastering Butterbeard. Prepare to be sunk!” Kelpy laughs at the butterfly’s ineffectual barrage, and Butterbeard begins to cry. Contrite and recognizing that Butterbeard is a kindred spirit following his own dream, Kelpy realizes the only thing to be done is to destroy his own boat to make it look as though Butterbeard sank him. Butterbeard exults, Kelpy rebuilds. The two fierce denizens of the high seas commence to battle each other over and over, having a grand time and becoming fast friends in the process. Author Wilson’s tightly constructed narrative has a strong repetition-of-three base that supplies both a solid foundation and humor, and it plays well against illustrator Chiodi’s exuberant and colorful mixed-media illustrations with their loose, plenty-of-space feel.
Fun—and with a supportive message for readers who march to different drums. (Picture book. 3-6)