I Am Otter by Sam Garton
Based off of characters from the blog: I Am Otter: The Unheard Ramblings of a Modern Day Otter, this picture book oozes with good natured humor. It tells the story of an otter who lives with a person that she calls Otter Keeper. Otter Keeper had to go to work on Monday, so Otter and Teddy (her teddy bear) tried to stop him by doing things like hiding his keys and his lunch. But Otter Keeper left for work anyway. So Otter decided to have her own job and chose to open a toast restaurant. But there were problems from the start. Teddy had forgotten to take reservations, so the line was very long. Teddy forgot to tell the customers the prices of the items. And finally, Teddy got the orders wrong. It all ended in a horrible mess, just as Otter Keeper returned home. Quickly, Otter hid as much as she could of the mess, but in the process Teddy disappeared! Can Otter find her best friend?
Garton cleverly tells two stories in this picture book. First is the written story in Otter’s voice that explains exactly what is happening from her perspective. That is that Teddy makes poor choices, Teddy makes messes, and Teddy forgets things. The rest of the story, the true version, is told in the pictures where even the youngest readers will understand that it is Otter who is creating all of the ruckus and mess as well as the drama.
Garton’s art is just as clear as his dual story. Done in full-color, the illustrations have a quiet and homey feel to them that contrasts delightfully with the messes that Otter creates. The illustrations are busy with small objects, showing a real home filled with toys, plants, pencils, and more.
Funny, smart and a pleasure to share aloud, this British picture book is “otterly” incredible. Appropriate for ages 4-6.
Reviewed from copy received from Balzer + Bray.