________________ CM . . . . Volume XX Number 5. . . .October 4, 2013


Sea Otter Pup.

Victoria Miles. Illustrated by Elizabeth Gatt.
Victoria, BC: Orca, 2013.
26 pp., board., $9.95.
ISBN 978-1-4598-0467-8.

Subject Heading:
Sea otter - Juvenile literature.

Preschool / Birth-age 3.

Review by Jennifer Baetz.

**** /4



Pup watches his mother. She is more careful. Purple urchins are her favourite food and she knows just how to eat them. Using her teeth, she cracks open the hard shell and slurps out the tasty urchin. She shares a piece with Pup and he gobbles it down.


This board book is a new format for the beloved original picture book by award-winning author Victoria Miles that was originally published in 1993. While the original text of Sea Otter Pup remains virtually unchanged, the layout of the board book version lends itself to an easier read. The font style has been changed and is slightly larger than the original, while the placement and spacing of text on the page create an eye-pleasing layout. Elizabeth Gatt’s acrylic painting illustrations are more vibrant in this version, consisting of rich greens and browns, and their realistic nature reflects the basic facts about sea otters that are being shared throughout the story. The layout of the book is attractive, with the text balancing the illustrations in each two-page spread.

internal art     Pup is learning about the world around him as Mother takes care of him and teaches lessons such as what foods are best to eat, how to wash up after a meal, and the importance of an afternoon nap in the sun. Young readers will enjoy learning about the habitats and habits of sea otters while finding comfort in the touching, yet unsentimental, story that reflects the love mothers have for their children. The detailed illustrations offer opportunities for readers to engage in pretend play, and carefully chosen words, such as “slurps” and “gobbles”, encourage vocabulary exploration. A short note on the final page of the book alerts readers to the vulnerable state of North American sea otters, thereby providing an early lesson in the fragile state of nature and the need to care for it just as we care for one another.

     Sea Otter Pup continues to be a favourite for many young readers, and this board book version would be a welcome addition to any home or public library.

Highly Recommended.

Jennifer Baetz is a library assistant in London, ON.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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