cover image Otter Play

Otter Play

Nancy Luenn. Atheneum Books, $16 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-689-81126-5

A quietly lyrical text and warm watercolors fairly dance as the rhythms of a child's day on the river echo those of an otter family. From their meeting in early morning, when the child launches his boat as the otters slide waterward from their muddy burrow, to their parting at day's end, when the boy crawls into a sleeping bag and the otters ""curl together in a dark, warm ball,"" this tale delights in the simple, often strikingly similar activities of humans and otters. Luenn's (Mother Earth) assured text reflects both respect and relish for otterplay. Vojtech (Ten Flashing Fireflies) creates a cozy ambiance through softly lit scenes of plump figures surrounded by rolling hills and rising riverbanks. Framed vignettes detail such natural wonders as bunchberry, trout, mud tracks or dragonflies, while double-page spreads of landscapes reveal a larger perspective. This memorable encounter whisks readers away on a frolic, but quietly lulls them back for bedtime. Ages 4-8. ( Apr.)