Otter and Odder: A Love Story

Overview

When an otter falls in love with a fish, can he dare to follow his heart? A delicious ode to nonconformity from a stellar picture-book pair.

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 ...

See more details below
Hardcover
$11.02
BN.com price
(Save 21%)$14.00 List Price

Pick Up In Store

Reserve and pick up in 60 minutes at your local store

Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (19) from $1.99   
  • New (10) from $7.90   
  • Used (9) from $1.99   
Note: Kids' Club Eligible. See More Details.
Sending request ...

Overview

When an otter falls in love with a fish, can he dare to follow his heart? A delicious ode to nonconformity from a stellar picture-book pair.

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-naïf 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.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

The New York Times
Chris Raschka's illustrations are delightfully childlike, an apt depiction of the early, innocent throes of first love: full of life, emotion-driven, often more than a little bit silly…Together, Howe and Raschka movingly explore the complexities of who and how we love, where love is found and where it takes us.
—Pamela Paul
Publishers Weekly
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.)
From the Publisher
The love between a fish and an otter is given the thoughtful treatment such an unexpected attraction deserves... Howe explores the pleasure and pain of loving someone who is different from one’s self in a manner that is both sophisticated and accessible to children... Raschka’s childlike renderings of creatures in thick, penciled outlines create the innocence, mirror the hope and provide the universality that contributes to the title’s ascent above its purely message-driven counterparts. Ever-changing watercolor washes and primordial shapes depict a wondrous, liquid world in which the star-crossed lovers learn to trust their hearts.
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

Howe’s story reaches beyond its target audience and presents a lovely, unpreachy allegory for relationships that fall outside the mainstream.
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Together, Howe and Raschka movingly explore the complexities of who and how we love, where love found and where it takes us.
—New York Times online

Children's Literature - Carrie Hane Hung
Otters love to eat fish but what happens when an otter falls in love with a fish? One day, Otter falls in love with Myrtle who is a fish. It is love at first sight. The two of them enjoy being in the company of each other; they play games, tell stories, and swim together. However, the story does not end there with a happy, odd couple. The growing rumors separate Otter and Myrtle and place them in momentary despair and tragedy of the heart. The talk around the river is that the separation between Otter and Myrtle is the way life should be between consumer and prey. With his heartbroken, Otter swims to visit Beaver who shares his wisdom and helps Otter and Myrtle reunite for a "happily-ever-after" ending. The wash of watercolor and crayon-like drawings bring a simple, childlike charm to the story that touches the heart. For older children, the story is rich with themes for discussion. Reviewer: Carrie Hane Hung
School Library Journal
Gr 1–3—Swimming through a river in search of a meal, Otter comes face-to-face with a doe-eyed fish and finds love instead. The fish wants only to escape, but gazing into her captor's eyes, she sees "a tender and lonely heart revealed," and her own "tremulous/fish-not-wishing-to-be-dinner/heart" awakens to the possibility of affection. Alas, the course of true love never does run smooth, particularly when meandering through the links of the food chain, and the couple's idyllic happiness is short-lived. Tongues wag ("'It isn't right.'/'It isn't natural.'/'It isn't the way of the otter'"), causing him doubts, while his beloved wonders how she can love someone who feeds upon her family and friends. However, this romance is not destined to end in tragedy: inspired by Beaver's astute words ("…there is/the way of the otter/and there is/the way of the heart./It is up to you to decide which to follow"), Otter makes his choice-and a change in diet (apples and aspen bark can be very tasty)-paving the way for a happily-ever-after conclusion. Howe's narrative incorporates humor, earnest emotion, and a likable protagonist to convey important truths about following one's heart and looking beyond the expectations of others. The text is lyrical and rhythmically cadenced, unfurling gracefully like a blossoming flower to reveal its wisdom. Resplendent in sparkling sun-warmed hues, Raschka's watercolor-and-pencil illustrations use stick-figure-style characters and unembellished shapes to strike the perfect balance of simplicity and eloquence. Like Leo Lionni's wonder-filled fables, this tale entertains while it inspires.—Joy Fleishhacker, School Library Journal
Kirkus Reviews
The love between a fish and an otter is given the thoughtful treatment such an unexpected attraction deserves. The homophonous title arouses curiosity while intimating troubled waters. Although it is love at first sight in the opening spread, the central conflict--that fish fall beneath otters in the food chain--is present as well. Howe explores the pleasure and pain of loving someone who is different from one's self in a manner that is both sophisticated and accessible to children. His rhapsodic language recalls William Steig's in The Amazing Bone (1976). Myrtle (really Gurgle, the fish) ponders "…the stirrings of her own / heart-- / her own tremulous / fish-not-wishing-to-be-dinner / heart-- / awakened to… / not only love but a future / she could never have imagined." The author builds suspense and credibility by twice speculating on the outcome. He first imagines what would happen "in a perfect world," then "in a tragic tale." Ultimately, Beaver's wisdom helps Otter overcome his instincts and the gossipers' ill will (a reality magnified by their tightly-knit circle, viewed from below). Raschka's childlike renderings of creatures in thick, penciled outlines create the innocence, mirror the hope and provide the universality that contributes to the title's ascent above its purely message-driven counterparts. Ever-changing watercolor washes and primordial shapes depict a wondrous, liquid world in which the star-crossed lovers learn to trust their hearts. (Picture book. 5-9)
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780763641740
  • Publisher: Candlewick Press
  • Publication date: 10/9/2012
  • Pages: 40
  • Sales rank: 672,767
  • Age range: 6 - 9 Years
  • Lexile: AD650L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 8.10 (w) x 8.70 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

James Howe is the acclaimed and beloved author of scores of books for young readers, including Brontorina, illustrated by Randy Cecil; the E. B. White Read Aloud Award–winning Houndsley and Catina and its sequels, illustrated by Marie-Louise Gay; and The Misfits, the book that inspired national No Name-Calling Week. James Howe lives in New York State.

Chris Raschka, winner of the 2012 Caldecott Medal for A Ball for Daisy, is the acclaimed illustrator of many books for children, including I Pledge Allegiance by Bill Martin Jr. and Michael Sampson; Dylan Thomas’s A Child’s Christmas in Wales; The Grasshopper’s Song by Nikki Giovanni; and A Poke in the I, A Kick in the Head, and A Foot in the Mouth, all edited by Paul B. Janeczko. Chris Raschka lives in New York City.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)