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The Sinking of Captain Otter by Troy Wilson and Maira Chiodi - mini book review

Publisher's Synopsis: "Kelpy is an otter―and also a passionate sea captain. He builds himself a ship that he adores, from keel to cabin to crow’s nest. All the other otters and pirates and sharks just laugh at Kelpy’s ramshackle craft, but Kelpy sails on. Until one day on the high seas, he encounters a sailor even more laughable than himself―a petite butterfly pirate in a teeny-tiny boat. Kelpy’s laughter shifts to empathy when he realizes how much he has hurt the tiny pirate’s feelings. So Kelpy decides to scuttle his beloved boat in a playful ploy to repair the emotional damage he’s done. Along the way, an unlikely friendship (and rivalry) begins. Packed with rhyme, repetition, and lots of humor, this is a read-aloud with a heartwarming message about following your dreams even in the face of ridicule and doubt, and how even an underdog can lift someone up."

My Quick Two Cents:  It's a little harder for me to "review" all picture books. First, I'm solidly a middle grades gal myself, having spent the bulk of my teaching career between 3rd - 8th grade. Secondly, I could go all 'reading specialist' on a review and try to come up with phonics and foundational reading activities - even if I had to think a bit harder on them. So, it's sometimes easier just to talk about if I like a book (or not) and if I think kids will like it and, consequentially, if teachers and parents should buy it.

The Sinking of Captain Otter is a fun and engaging picture book, perfectly suited to its target age demographic. There's just enough rhyming and repetition so as to not overpower. I love the subtleness in the bullying message (which in the first few pages made me worry it was going to be another "bullying is bad" didactic tretise). Instead, the bullied Kelpy, knowing what it is like to feel sad and bullied, chooses to turn the other cheek, swallow some pride, and make friends in unlikely places. There's also something in there about a healthy rivalry, but I'm not very competitive so it kind of got lost on me. Mostly, I liked the idea of tenacity in the face of ridicule. It's short and sweet, but it contains a lot of possible discussion about Kelpy's traits and decisions.
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Genre: Picture Book
Age: 3-7 / Preschool - 2nd
Pages: 32

Themes: Tenacity, Empathy, Friendship, Rivalry

Character Development: Typical surface level in most picture books of this sort

Plot Engagement: Pretty strong, switches between scenes of bullying, meeting new friend, and resolution quickly

Originality: An otter and a butterfly as sea boat captains.... pretty unique

Believability: In today's world of children's books, nothing is unbeleiveable

Thank You to Publisher OwlKid Books and NetGalley for my advanced Digital Book copy
Date: October 15, 2018
ISBN: 978-1771473118

BUY The Sinking of Captain Otter HERE


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 © 2007-2018 Dr. Cheryl Vanatti, education & reading specialist writing at www.ReadingRumpus.com

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