Elem. – Odder

Applegate, Katherine. Odder. Fiewel and Friends, 2022. 978-1-250-14742-4. $16.99. 288 p. Grades 3-6.

Odder is a southern sea otter with a whole lot of spunk. Scared of nothing, and always on the move, Odder loves to play. She especially loves to seek out human connection. Separated from her mother as a pup, Odder was rescued and rehabilitated by humans who taught her how to be an otter and returned her to the ocean. When her daring personality endangers a friend, Odder attempts to challenge a young shark. Severely injured, Odder is once again rescued by humans, who fear that their intense interaction with Odder from a young age has bonded her to humans. Odder’s endless fascination with humans has endangered her ability to survive in the wild. The rescue center decides she cannot be returned to the ocean. Once hunted for their fur, these adorable creatures are endangered. The humans realize they need to find a new way to rehabilitate abandoned and lost otter pups in order to save the species. Instead of having humans teach otters how to live in the wild, the center attempts to try to get Odder to adopt a newly abandoned otter pup. Though unwilling to mother the pup at first, Odder eventually befriends her young charge and teaches the baby otter how to be an otter and function in the wild. Based on the real-life stories of rescued sea otters at the Monterey Bay Aquarium in California. This is a beautiful story told in verse with delightfully detailed illustrations by Charles Santoso.

THOUGHTS: Applegate’s story-telling is absolutely gorgeous. This is a very moving story of love, family, and the effect of humans on the creatures in our environment. Many opportunities for further learning about endangered species and marine biology. Includes a glossary and author’s notes with suggestions for further study. Fans of Applegate’s books will devour this selection! The release date for this book is September 20, 2022.

Animal Fiction          Anne McKernan, Council Rock SD

MG – Planet Ocean: Why We All Need a Healthy Ocean

Newman, Patricia. Planet Ocean: Why We All Need a Healthy Ocean. Photographs by Annie Crawley. Millbrook Press, 2021. 64 p. 978-1-541-58121-0. $31.99. Grades 5-8.

Writer Newman and diver Crawley team up for a second book, after the success of their first collaboration Plastic Ahoy! Investigating the Great Pacific Garbage Patch (2014). Their excitement over the beauty of the ocean is evident and contagious as they visit three distinct areas of ocean: the Coral Triangle near Indonesia, the Salish Sea in the Pacific Northwest, and the Arctic Ocean at the top of the world. Since Earth is about 70% ocean and 30% land, they contend that a better name for it would be Planet Ocean. The facts they share about the importance and wonder of the ocean and its creatures make it seem amazing that much of the ocean is yet unexplored because of its size and depth. In each location they highlight young people who are working to improve the health of the oceans. Examples include a group of children who regularly meet to clean their Indonesian beach of plastic and garbage that washes ashore daily, and Inupiat teen Eben Hopson, who started his own film company and has traveled the world to show his films and educate about the changing climate in his own town. Crawley states, “I know how important the ocean is to our daily lives, how fragile it is, and how much we’re changing it. I want kids and teens to speak up for our oceans” (7).

THOUGHTS: This is an engaging look at why our oceans matter, and it encourages young people to take action. Free teaching resources are available via Titlewave.

551.56 Oceans          Melissa Scott, Shenango Area SD

Plastic, Ahoy!

plasticahoy

Newman, Patricia. Plastic, Ahoy! Investigating the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Minneapolis: Millbrook Press, 2014. 978-1-4677-1283-5. 48 p. $23.00. Gr. 5+.

This book is a fabulous way to introduce young students to the effect that plastic has on our ecosystems, particularly the ocean. It contains fascinating information made very accessible to young students. The book details how each researcher became interested in ocean research, and their mission to change the way we think about plastic. It includes many fascinating photographs by Annie Crawley. I didn’t even know that an Ocean Garbage Patch existed (called the Pyre), let alone make attempts to reduce my plastic consumption. The book details how the currents of the different oceans converge to keep the Garbage Patch in one place. The book includes a glossary, source notes, hints to help, and items for further reading.

This book was not in one day, and a science teacher grabbed it. She then passed it on to the other science teachers. It is a little simplistic for the grade 8 students, but not overly so. It has spurred a movement in our school to recycle more, use reusable containers, and cut down on plastic use in general. Great to inspire STEM minded students for further study. It has had a global effect on my middle school.

363.738       Kathy Gilbride, North Pocono Middle and High School