Children's LiteratureThis entry in the "Smithsonian's Backyard" series presents in story format what happens when a young otter learns to be independent. Like others in the series, this one differentiates various aspects of an animal, in this case, how a mother otter off the coast of California takes care of her pup, anchors it with ribbons of kelp when napping, what and how they eat, and how they spend time. A great white shark poses danger for the otter pup's mother and they are both separated briefly, however, readers see the pup grow to be able to find food and move out into the wider sea alone. Suitable as a source for reports, the book also features backmatter with more information, a glossary, and an index. Lawson's paint and colored pencil drawings present an endearing otter but render waves stylistically as near-snowcapped peaks, which may bother some purists but will probably not bother child readers. The book is also available as an audiobook accompanied by a realistic stuffed animal. 2002, Soundprints,
School Library JournalK-Gr 4-One spring evening, when Bullfrog is a year old and has reached maturity, he searches for a spot of his own. In spare, quiet narration, he and his habitat come to life. Bullfrog lives in a Southern bayou, and many of the other animals living there become his prey, his predator, or go about their own business oblivious to his presence. All of them, and some of the plants as well, are listed on a page at the end of the book, which also includes more detailed information about bullfrogs and a brief glossary. The realistic, muted paintings perfectly reflect a typical Southern evening filled with the sounds of frogs and the occasional thunderclap. This book offers just a momentary glimpse into a frog's life, and would make a great starting point for a study of frogs or of wetland habitats.-Susan Oliver, Tampa-Hillsborough Public Library System, FL Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
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