Archive for 2016

Otters Love to Play

Written by Jonathan London
Illustrated by Meilo So

This new book is a well-researched tale about a litter of river otter pups as they grow and learn in their first year of life. It begins in early spring in the abandoned den of a beaver. After five weeks, the pups’ eyes open and the play begins. Their wrestling, chasing, and tug-of-war help the pups develop the speed and agility they need for hunting. The mother teaches them to swim so they can catch fish and eat other water-based delicacies. As they become more aware of their surroundings, they guard their territory. Throughout the winter, they continue to hunt and keep each other warm in the den. Then they play some more.

Extensive sidebars appear on every two-page spread so third graders can learn more about this lovable animal. Illustrations capture the playful nature and tenacity of the otters. As otters are part of the weasel family, this book would be valuable in the study of woodland creatures and in developing literacy skills.

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  • Otters Love to PlayTitle: Otters Love to Play
  • Author: Jonathan London
  • Illustrator: Meilo So
  • Published: Candlewick Press, 2016
  • Reviewer: Sue Poduska
  • Format: Hardcover, 32 pages
  • Grade Level: K to 3
  • Genre: Nonfiction, Nature, Animals, Science
  • ISBN: 978-0-7636-6913-3
  • Extras: Index, About Otters


Written by Sue Whiting
Illustrated by Mark Jackson

This is a great opportunity to learn about the creature that fascinates observers and puzzles scientists. Kids will love the platypus and want to know more.

The author starts out by following a male platypus as he goes about his daily foraging. His burrow is warm and cozy and nestled on the bank of a creek. His body and fur help him to move around his semiaquatic world. His flexible bill allows him to find and capture worms, insect larvae, crawfish, and beetles. He dives repeatedly to the creek bed until he fills the pouches in his cheeks for the coming meal. He has to hide quickly from predators. Meanwhile, the female tends to the eggs and nurses the babies.

The beautiful illustrations give a real feel to the environment of the platypus, the other animals, and even the plant life.

Third graders will get a chance to practice literacy skills while learning about life in Tasmania and Australia. This would be a good read aloud for discussion of what a monotreme is and how it differs from a mammal.

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  • PlatypusTitle: Platypus
  • Author: Sue Whiting
  • Illustrator: Mark Jackson
  • Published: Candlewick Press, March 8, 2016
  • Reviewer: Sue Poduska
  • Format: Hardcover, 32 pages
  • Grade Level: K to 4
  • Genre: Science, Nature, Geography
  • ISBN: 978-0-7636-8098-5
  • Extras: Numerous sidebars, Index, author’s note “The Puzzling Platypus”
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