Pup: The Sea Otter

illus. by Sean London. 32p. Westwinds. Apr. 2017. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781943328871.
PreS-Gr 2—This fun, narrative-driven title covers the first eight months of Pup's (a sea otter) life. Readers watch how Pup's mother cares for him; how he eats, sleeps, and plays; and how he begins to grow and scavenge for his own food. Yet not all is tranquil: suspense builds when Pup is interrupted by a preying shark. Set in verse, peppered with onomatopoeia ("munch crunch munch!") and dramatic sounds ("Eeeeeeeee!"), this is a fine selection for read-alouds. The occasional use of large, swirly fonts, though attractive, will likely render the text unreadable by the intended audience. The soft, gentle illustrations focus on Pup and his mother; the background is largely sparse, so readers' eyes will naturally be drawn to the animals. London does not cite resources or suggestions for further study, but a page-long author's note offers some statistics about the creature. It also mentions that almost half of the sea otter pup population die every year, mostly from oil spills or pollution, issues that are not discussed in Pup's tale.
VERDICT Consider for educational storytimes or as a bridge from picture books to light nonfiction.

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