Sonderbooks Stand-out

Sonderbooks Book Review of


by Katherine Applegate

with illustrations by Charles Santoso


by Katherine Applegate
with illustrations by Charles Santoso

Review posted June 8, 2023.
Feiwel and Friends, 2022. 274 pages.
Review written January 15, 2023, based on an advance reader copy I got at ALA Annual Conference.
Starred Review
2022 Cybils Award Finalist, Novels in Verse
2023 Sonderbooks Stand-out:
#3 More Children's Fiction

Katherine Applegate does it again! Like The One and Only Ivan, this novel in verse for young animal-loving chapter book readers takes the perspective of a wild animal and completely wins readers' hearts.

Odder is a young sea otter living in a slough near Monterey Bay off the coast of California. When Odder gets a little too adventurous and ventures into the bay, she's bitten by a shark and needs the assistance of the scientists at the Monterey Bay Aquarium -- the same people who nurtured her when she was an orphaned pup -- to recover and survive. This is Odder's story.

Along the way, we learn about this endangered species and how humans are learning to care for them so their numbers can increase. Odder's story is based on actual sea otters helped at the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

The story is mostly told from Odder's perspective. And she's a sea otter -- there's nothing cuter! Her perspective is all about adventure and play. The accompanying illustrations are of course adorable, and this book will oh-so-easily win kids' hearts.

The story is told in verse, so it's a much quicker read than it might appear at first. I think the final version may have more cute drawings than my advance reader copy does, but my hold was taking a long time to fill, so I've needed to order the library more copies. This book will bring smiles wherever it goes.