cover image Pup 681: A Sea Otter Rescue Story

Pup 681: A Sea Otter Rescue Story

Jean Reidy, illus. by Ashley Crowley. Holt, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-250-11450-1

Reidy’s story is loosely based on a real otter that was rescued by the Monterey Bay Aquarium and initially identified as “681” before a naming contest made her an internet sensation. In Crowley’s loose, smudgy artwork, an aquarium worker on a surfboard discovers the tiny pup washed ashore. She takes the otter back to the aquarium, where she warms and feeds her, but after spending weeks living in the aquarium’s otter habitat, 681 becomes unwell: “The pup felt like she was back on the lonely sand beach. And no blanket of purple kelp could make it right.” The aquarium worker again nurses her back to health. Reidy’s anthropomorphizing of 681 is laid on thick (“Pup 681... That big, big number reminded her of that big, empty space in her tiny otter heart.”), but otter enthusiasts will likely enjoy the tender relationship between 681 and her attentive caregiver. Ages 4–8. (Feb.)