Friday, August 21, 2020
If You Take Away the Otter
by Susannah Buhrman-Deever; illus. by Matthew Trueman
32 pages; ages 5 - 8
theme: ocean, animals, ecology
On the Pacific coast of North America, where the ocean meets the shore, there are forests that have no trees.
They are forests of kelp and other seaweeds, providing a home to sea stars, octopuses, fish of all kinds and, trundling along the bottom, sea urchins. The king of these forests is the sea otter. The otters dive into the deep waters and fill up on fish, clams, crabs, and prickly sea urchins.
“There is just enough seaweed, enough seaweed eaters, and enough meat eaters to help the forests thrive,” writes Susannah Buhrman-Deever. But there was a time when people took the otters away.
With the otters gone, the sea urchin population grew. They ate the kelp forests. The ocean changed…
What I like about this book: I like how Susannah uses two levels of text to tell the story of what happens when one species (people) takes too much. I like Matthew Trueman’s luscious underwater scenes and the details of the ocean animals he paints. What I really like, though, is the sense of hope: that when we take care of our part of the planet, the animals and plants can come back into balance. Back matter includes more information about kelp forests and sea otters, as well as resources for curious naturalists to explore further.
Beyond the Books:
Learn more about sea otters, kelp, and sea urchins. This video shows how otters are ecosystem superheroes. This one takes you on an underwater adventure.
You can help save sea otters, even if you don’t live anywhere near an ocean. Check out these things you can do.
Visit an otter at a zoo or aquarium. River otters live near streams and rivers across North America. Some may live near you, so anything you do to help sea otters will help river otters, too. If you can’t get to a zoo, here’s a video of a river otter at the national zoo.
Today we're joining Perfect Picture Book Friday, an event where bloggers share great picture books at Susanna Leonard Hill's website. You can find out more about Susannah Buhrman-Deever at her website. Review copy provided by the publisher.