A Lot of Otters


When Mother Moon can't find her moonlet, she cries and cries. With every tear that falls, a star drops into the sea where a young boy floats in a small brown box amidst a family of frolicking otters. Barbara Helen Berger's poetic text and luminous art come together to form an enchanting story about the boundless power of a mother's love. Full color.

As a lot of otters wrestle, roll, and cavort on the water, they make such a ...

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When Mother Moon can't find her moonlet, she cries and cries. With every tear that falls, a star drops into the sea where a young boy floats in a small brown box amidst a family of frolicking otters. Barbara Helen Berger's poetic text and luminous art come together to form an enchanting story about the boundless power of a mother's love. Full color.

As a lot of otters wrestle, roll, and cavort on the water, they make such a commotion of light that Mother Moon finds her lost child.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In rhythmic text paired with translucent art, the story of a pajama-clad boy unfolds, as he pushes off to sea in a cardboard boat and reads a book about Mother Moon, who is looking for her lost "moonlet." But his book falls into the grasp of otters. Here Berger (Grandfather Twilight) deftly divides her tale into two intertwining perspectives: the boy and the otters are reading about their own simultaneous adventure of helping Mother Moon to find her lost child, who is the boy himself. Simple enough for beginning readers, Berger's text is dreamily evocative: when Mother Moon's tears fall as stars, the otters "wrestled and rolled and rubbed the starlight into their fur"making a "commotion of light" to draw Mother Moon's attention. Berger's watercolors take on the colors of heaven and sea waltzing in tranquil veils of green and blue. She moves from the intimacy of the orphan in his boat reading, to the expansive heavens from which Mother Moon recognizes her lost moonlet with equal agility. A gentle, lulling reverie to ferry youngsters from bedtime to dreamtime. Ages 2-6. (Sept.)
Children's Literature - Dori Butler
It's bedtime and Mother Moon is looking for her child. Where can he be? Down below, a little boy dressed in pajamas is floating in a box among a group of sea otters. This is a delightful, multi-layered story that shows the boundless power of a mother's love in approximately 150 words. The art is soothing - perfect for bedtime.
School Library Journal
PreSIn this gentle, lovely fantasy, a winsome toddler climbs into a cardboard box, book in hand, and sails off into a nighttime encounter with a band of otters. Spare lines of text follow the reading child out onto the water, where the book falls overboard, soon to be retrieved by the curious otters, some holding their own babies. The unseen Mother Moon weeps tears that fall as stars on the drifting crowd, and soon all are caught up in diving and grasping these glittering objects. Berger's softly drawn otters are comical and appealing as they cavort through the blue and green water swirling across the double-pages, playing with the stars and the picture book and reaching out to the baby in his box. Mother Moon finally notices the commotion and is reunited with her child in the star-filled sea. Moon Mother and her sleeping moonlet, surrounded by drifting, sleepy otters, are framed by a pale green moon for the quiet conclusion. The child in soft red pajamas, his red jacketed book telling also of moon and stars, and the tan cardboard box are both playful and familiar touches, grounding the scheme in the real world as it pushes easily into dreamland. The deft flow of words and pictures and the universal theme of the venturing child and anxious mother reunited are a satisfying combination, and toddlers are sure to delight in the mischievous antics of all those whiskery otters.Margaret Bush, Simmons College, Boston
School Library Journal
PreS--Mother Moon's little one has been cast adrift and finds himself alone at sea until a raucous lot of otters comes to the rescue and a happy return ensues. A starlit, "sweet dreams" selection. (Sept.)
Kirkus Reviews
The title may give the impression that this is a counting book; instead, Berger (The Jewel Heart, 1994, etc.) presents an exquisitely composed and tender fantasy, melding text and pictures so well that one could not exist without the other. She calibrates the pacing of this picture book perfectly: The first page shows a toddler walking with a book; the baby climbs into a box at the title page; at the opening of the real story, the child begins reading the book, about "Mother Moon" looking for her child, her "moonlet." What the child sees on the picture-book page is the scene readers see; from there, the events are nonstop: The toddler drops the book, and an otter spots it from underwater. That otter reads the book aloud to a group of otters treading water, including one who floats on her back with her baby lying upon her like a fuzzy teddy bear. The moon-mother's tears fall into the sea, turning into stars—a folktale element that allows for lovely compositions as the otters dive for the stars. Mother and moonlet—who turns out to be the toddler—are reunited. Themes of independence, separation, and reunion are all given play in a book in which sweet otters act like children and look like expertly drafted, favorite stuffed animals, floating and dozing off at the end.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780698118638
  • Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
  • Publication date: 8/28/2000
  • Series: Picture Puffin Books Series
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 671,409
  • Age range: 2 - 6 Years
  • Product dimensions: 10.00 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 0.12 (d)

Meet the Author

Barbara Helen Berger lives on Bainbridge Island, Washington.
Barbara Helen Berger lives on Bainbridge Island, Washington.

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