The day Otter found love, he wasn't looking for it. He was looking for dinner. But then he gazed into the round, sweet, glistening eyes of Myrtle the fish, and he knew. Read more...
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The day Otter found love, he wasn't looking for it. He was looking for dinner. But then he gazed into the round, sweet, glistening eyes of Myrtle the fish, and he knew. "Impossible," he said. "I am in love with my food source." As for Myrtle, her first desire was: "Please don't eat me. "But soon her heart awakened to a future she could never have imagined. The inseparable duo played hide-and-seek and told each other stories, but everyone said that was "not "the way of the otter. Could their love (and Myrtle) possibly survive? Aided by Chris Raschka's illustrations in a fresh faux-naif style, James Howe tells a warm, witty tale about finding kindred spirits in the oddest of places-and having the good sense to keep them.
- ISBN-13: 9780763641740
- ISBN-10: 076364174X
- Publisher: Candlewick Press (MA)
- Publish Date: October 2012
- Page Count: 40
- Reading Level: Ages 6-9
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2012-10-01
- Reviewer: Staff
Love at first sight befalls a hungry otter and the fish he intends to eat for dinner. Soul-searching ensues. “I am in love with my food source,” the dismayed otter admits, gazing into Myrtle’s “round, sweet, glistening eyes.” Otter’s carnivorous friends mutter, “It isn’t natural,” and Otter has no answer when Myrtle asks, “But must you eat my friends? My family?” Rather than receive an automatic “happily ever after,” Otter has to explore alternative menu options to keep his true love by his side. While Howe (Brontorina) speaks to younger readers with this “odder” romance, the important questions it raises wouldn’t be out of place in his middle-grade fiction. To be fair, the male meat-eater holds the cards in this relationship, although Myrtle returns Otter’s affections after an initial flight instinct. Raschka, who also merged the existential and the piscine in Arlene Sardine, provides abstract and wonderfully childlike crayon-and-watercolor images of a serpentine brook, rippling and meandering as the otter and fish cavort. Howe’s story reaches beyond its target audience and presents a lovely, unpreachy allegory for relationships that fall outside the mainstream. Ages 6–10. Illustrator’s agent: Brenda Bowen, Sanford J. Greenburger Associates. (Oct.)
Love knows no species
Otter is just looking for dinner when he finds love—with a fish. Focusing on her beautiful eyes, Otter no longer sees Myrtle as a food source. Myrtle feels a tug in her own heart and returns his affection as they play hide-and-seek and watch the stars. The story should end there, but the other pond animals find Otter, who’s always been a little odd, even odder with his new love interest. Some even call it unnatural.
Otter comes to his senses (according to the neighboring naysayers, that is) and resigns himself to living alone. Chris Raschka’s deceptively simple, childlike artwork, rendered in watercolor washes and thick colored pencil, evokes both Otter’s budding romance and crushing loss. After swimming by Beaver’s dam one day, Otter’s spirit is renewed, as Beaver helps Otter realize that love can take many paths, “that there is the way of the otter and there is the way of the heart.” Choosing the latter, Otter and Myrtle resume their lives—and love—together.
James Howe expertly crafts this modern fable to be read on many levels. Although adults may read more into the muddied relationship, even young children will recognize the strength of staying true to oneself. Otter’s reflective tale gives hope and validity to love everywhere.