Odder

by Katherine Applegate (Author) Charles Santoso (Illustrator)

Odder
Reading Level: 4th – 5th Grade

A touching and lyrical tale about a remarkable sea otter, from Newbery Medalist Katherine Applegate, author of Wishtree.

Meet Odder, the Queen of Play: Nobody has her moves.

She doesn't just swim to the bottom, she dive-bombs.

She doesn't just somersault, she triple-doughnuts.

She doesn't just ride the waves, she makes them.

Odder spends her days off the coast of central California, practicing her underwater acrobatics and spinning the quirky stories for which she's known. She's a fearless daredevil, curious to a fault. But when Odder comes face-to-face with a hungry great white shark, her life takes a dramatic turn, one that will challenge everything she believes about herself--and about the humans who hope to save her. Inspired by the true story of a Monterey Bay Aquarium program that pairs orphaned otter pups with surrogate mothers, this poignant and humorous tale told in free verse examines bravery and healing through the eyes of one of nature's most beloved and charming animals.


Publishers Weekly

Starred Review

Writing in exquisitely descriptive free verse, Applegate (Willodeen) delivers an uplifting tale of an inquisitive sea otter pup raised by scientists after being separated from her mother. Released back to the ocean, curious Odder spends her days reveling in her ability to "twist/ and pretzel and weave." Despite warnings to "be afraid of the world," the otter's adventurous nature lures her and a cautious friend, Kairi, into deeper waters, where they encounter an adolescent great white that lands Odder back with the people who raised her. Brief chapters that mimic the feel of each creature's movements capture both the meal-focused musings of the hungry shark--a "soundless ocean ghost" stalking prey--and the playful naivete of Odder (named because of "the way/ the little pup never settled, /... the way/ her eyes were always/ full of questions"). Though humans make cameo appearances in this edifying novel about otter life, the focus remains rightfully on its enigmatic star: a lovable otter who not only survives against the odds but thrives. Occasional art by Santoso (Wombat Underground) highlights the adorable protagonists. An author's note details the story's roots at California's Monterey Bay Aquarium. Ages 8-12. Author's agent: Elena Giovinazzo, Pippin Properties. (Sept.)

Copyright 2022 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

Writing in exquisitely descriptive free verse, Applegate delivers an uplifting tale of an inquisitive sea otter pup raised by scientists after being separated from her mother. ...Though humans make cameo appearances...the focus remains rightfully on its enigmatic star: a lovable otter who not only survives against the odds but thrives. —Publishers Weekly, starred review

Based on the Monterey Bay Aquarium and its otter rescue and fostering program, this gorgeous story is told in flowing free verse that slips by as silkily as an otter in water. ... Told almost entirely from Odder's perspective, imparting dreamy observations of the natural and human worlds from an animal's point of view. Handsome black-and-white illustrations...punctuate the verses... A stunning study of a remarkable and resilient sea creature. —Booklist, starred review

The free verse effortlessly weaves in scientific information, giving Odder a voice without overly anthropomorphizing any of the animals. The natural appeal of sea otters will draw readers in, but the book doesn't shy away from real-world threats such as predators, disease, and pollution.... Charming black-and-white spot art captures the world and life of the sea. —Kirkus Reviews

Katherine Applegate
Katherine Applegate is an American children's book author. She has received numerous awards for her work, such as the Golden Kite, the Josette Frank, and the Newbery Medal.
Classification
Fiction
ISBN-13
9781250147424
Lexile Measure
N/A
Guided Reading Level
N/A
Publisher
N/A
Publication date
September 20, 2022
Series
-
BISAC categories
JUV039060 - Juvenile Fiction | Social Themes | Friendship
JUV002160 - Juvenile Fiction | Animals | Mammals
JUV002170 - Juvenile Fiction | Animals | Marine Life
Library of Congress categories
-

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