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Otter and Odder: A Love Story    by James Howe & Chris Raschka order for
Otter and Odder
by James Howe
Order:  USA  Can
Candlewick, 2012 (2012)
* *   Reviewed by Bob Walch

The river sparkled the day the Otter found love. He was not looking for it (love, that is). He was looking for dinner. But when Otter gazed into those eyes those round, sweet, glistening eyes he knew that he had found what he had not known he was looking for.

'Impossible,' he said.

Impossible indeed! The Otter had fallen tail over paws in love with what he so succinctly called his 'food source'. Yes, improbably as it might seem, Otter was in love with a fish. Following the relationship as it develops between Otter and Myrtle (or Gurgle if you prefer) is the subject of this delightful, albeit silly, picture book.

There are ups and downs as you would expect but this odd couple manages to overcome the challenges they encounter and, as one might also expect, the pair does live happily ever after.

The faux-naif style illustrator Christ Raschka employs in creating the art for this story is unusual and actually rather fitting given the tale's subject matter. The childlike, unsophisticated and decidedly nave renderings of the two key characters act as a balance to the subtle implications of this clever tale of an unconventional love affair.

Although the book is aimed at youngsters six to ten years of age, I think adults will not only enjoy this story but see and appreciate some of the nuances of this unconventional relationship that features a main character who dares to follow his heart.

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