If You Take Away the Otter by Susannah Buhrman-Deever, illustrated by Matthew Trueman. Candlewick, 2020. 9780763689346
Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 5
What did you like about the book? Starting with the importance of kelp forests on the Pacific coast of North America, this book goes on to explain how otters depend on the many species which live in these forests for food. When otters were over-hunted, sea urchins proliferated, causing the kelp forests to deplete and erasing the habitat for many species. The human part in these events is explained nicely: “People do not always understand at first the changes they cause when they take too much.” This opens a young reader’s mind to the idea that we can change behavior to repair ecological problems. The clear progression of facts, pushed along by the lovely mixed media illustrations, makes for an easily digestible and compelling explanation of the interconnectedness of species. The book’s palette is lovely sea blues and greens, and the youngest readers will especially enjoy the otters, which have a lot of personality. The text on each page is the perfect amount for the target audience, with asides in smaller type for those who crave more information. An impressive section of back matter includes an author’s note, bibliography and additional resources. Highly recommended.
Anything you didn’t like about it? No
To whom would you recommend this book? For ages 5-8, especially readers who are interested in sea habitats. Well suited for classroom use.
Who should buy this book? Elementary school and public libraries
Where would you shelve it ? 599
Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? It’s worth a look if you need to update your collection.
Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State: Stephanie Tournas, Robbins Library, Arlington, MA
Date of review: June 10, 2020