Thursday, March 13, 2008

You "Otter" Read This!

Do Unto Otters (A Book About Manners) by Laurie Keller was published in September, 2007, but I just recently found it. When I read it, I started cracking up from the very first page. Picture this: a 50-something woman, holding a book in her hands, laughing hysterically with tears running down her face, and her high school daughter running into the family room to see what was wrong. Yep, that 50-something woman was me. And yep, I was reading Do Unto Otters.

I’m not exactly sure who Keller’s target audience is. I originally thought it was for younger readers since it is a book about manners. But, then I happened to glance at the dedication, copyright, and publisher page, and I knew this wasn’t just for kids. There are definitely parts in this book designed for the adults reading this book with/to children.

One of the dedications is a thank you, and it is to be sung to a tune by the Commodores (this is most definitely my age demographic!). Here’s how it goes (see if you can figure out the tune):

“She’s a WORD – HOUSE!
Re-write, re-write me, she takes all my bad words out.
She’s a WORD – HOUSE!
Her brain is stacked with lots of facts.
She’s nice and she has no plaque.”

Every time I read this (and of course, try to sing the tune), it cracks me up! There’s even more fun in the publisher/copyright section, but I don’t want to ruin all the funny surprises.

The actual story is about a Rabbit who gets new neighbors – the Otters. He is in a quandary – he knows nothing about Otters or how to treat them. That’s when the wise, old owl comes to visit, and shares an old saying he knows, “Do unto otters as you would have otters do unto you.” This makes Rabbit reflect on how he would want “otters” to treat him. What a fun way to share with children how to behave with one another! And what a great way to share with kids how authors play with words!

While children are learning some valuable life lessons, they can also have some fun. On the page when the Rabbit and the Otter share their favorite books with each other, the Otter’s favorite book is no other than Harry Otter. Then, there's the page when they’re playing cards, and the Rabbit tells the Otter to “Go Fish”, and guess what the illustration shows the otter doing? You guessed it -- diving into the stream to fish! There are lots more chuckles throughout the book!

You really "otter" read this book!

For some more reviews on this book, check out 100 Scope Notes and Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast.

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