BOOK REVIEW: My Otter Half by Michelle Schusterman

In the name of being honest, let me tell you that I totally judged this book by its cover, and I am so glad that I did because I absolutely adored it! Michelle Schusterman's My Otter Half possesses the type of charm reserved for Disney movies {of which I hope it someday becomes}; while, at the same time, bringing the very real issue of oil spills and ocean pollution to the forefront in a way that educates without being overtly graphic or preachy. It's a tale of family {human, canine, and otter}, friendship, and finding your way home in the vein of both The Incredible Journey and Finding Nemo - and I, for one, feel that no heart would be untouched by the story found within these pages.

Oliver is a young sea otter faced with a difficult problem: proving to his pals that he is not a momma otter's boy, like they all believe. You see, the other young sea otters have already experienced land adventures; while Oliver has been told time and time again by his overprotective mother that the time will come for him to explore the land - for now he must remain where she can keep him safe. Tired of hearing no, Oliver takes it upon himself to create his own adventure to prove his bravery by swimming into Puget Sound alone, where humans and ships can be found by the dozens. Within a short time of arriving, however, an oil spill threatening local wildlife takes place, trapping Oliver in the harbor, and separating him from his friends and beloved momma.

Like Oliver, Franklin is lost from his family. The big diff? Franklin is a dachshund puppy with a penchant for chasing squirrels at inappropriate times - not a sea otter. Those squirrels I mentioned? Yep, the very reason why Franklin was separated from his owner, Lucy, in the first place. Franklin has absolutely no idea how to reunite with the doting Lucy; but when he meets Oliver, he's convinced that the two can help each other in finding their families as long as they work together. And so the two four-legged fellas embark on a quest through the Pacific Northwest wildnerness to do precisely that.

Told in alternating chapters from the POV of Franklin, Oliver, and Lucy, My Otter Half is a story that really puts you in your feels. Though the adventures of the incredibly mischevious Oliver and Franklin are oftentimes humorous, there are moments where your heart breaks for these two sweet creatures and their plight. Chapters told in Lucy's perspective are slightly different from those shared by Franklin and Oliver. Through Lucy, we see quite a bit of time searching for Franklin, but also struggling with family issues involving a rift between her mother and older brother, Zach. Most interesting about Lucy's chapters, however, are the details regarding the oil spill itself, and the animal rescues and clean-ups completed by her mother, who appears to be a marine biologist {though it is never specified} - this alone will intrigue young animal lovers and aspiring veterinarians, while aiding in a classroom study about oil spills.

As a new teacher and animal lover, who gravitates frequently to oil spill studies and the ramifications on wildlife, this is a tale that I would love to incorporate into my future classroom, tying it into science, ELA, and even social studies {using Google Maps to track the adventures of Franklin and Oliver}. Highly recommended!

Star Rating: *****



ellie said...

Sounds like an awesome tale for this generation to know of. Great review!

Caitlin'nMegan said...

So nice to know of this book. Great gift idea too!

Hollyn'Stevie said...

So great to know about this one! Loved the review!

The Book Group said...

Wonderful! Looks like a great title for the whole family!

Ivy's Closet said...

Adoring your review πŸ’•πŸŒΈπŸŒˆ

Better Left Unsaid said...

So great to know. Loved the review πŸŒˆπŸ’™❤️🌈

Cherry Blossoms said...

Oh, it looks delightful! Thanks so much!

R's Rue said...

Adding to my list. I love it. Have a great holiday. Love to you. Regine

© cat eyes & skinny jeans | All rights reserved.
Blogger Templates by pipdig