The Perfect Rock

The Perfect Rock
Sarah Noble
Flying Eye Books

I’d just finished reading another Flying Eye book, Curious Creatures: Working With Tools, when I picked up this one, little realising it too involves tool-using otters.
However, Sarah Noble’s narrative is a story about three busy young otters, Ollie, Bea and Ula that on account of their busy schedule, don’t generally have time to consider rocks. Nonetheless their shellfish feasting cannot happen in the future unless they can open the shells for themselves; so say their Papa and Mama. They go on to explain the qualities the opening tool – the Perfect Rock of the title – needs to have concluding with, “Most importantly, … something you hold dear, something you’ll hold tight and never lose.”

Off swim the little otters through the seaweed forest searching both high and low tides until at last … 

However a squabble ensues as each states the case for taking possession of this perfect finding and their squabbles lead to a scrap and chase resulting in the loss of the vital object and angry feelings bubble up. Then a scary storm blows in, delivering an important life lesson that changes everything. 

With gorgeous illustrations of both the otters and their environment, and words that are a delight to read aloud, this is such a lovely book offering as it does life lessons on sibling rivalry and finding your independence for the young otters, that are equally applicable to little humans. The otters’ changing feelings are so well expressed in Sarah’s scenes of their search, squabbles and final serenity.

With Your Paw in Mine

With Your Paw in Mine
Jane Chapman
Little Tiger

Otter pup Miki loves to float snuggled up on her Mama’s tummy but after a swimming lesson she goes off hunting leaving Miki alone safely rolled in seaweed.

As she waits, Miki notices another similar ‘furry parcel’ and paddles across to meet pup Amak who is also waiting for his mother. Acknowledging the loneliness of waiting, Miki suggests holding paws and waiting together.

That becomes a regular occurrence and the two cubs become inseparable.

But one morning a fierce storm blows up and the two friends become separated briefly, manage to re-link paws and even to join up with other otters to form, paw in paw, a raft to weather out the storm

until, joy of joys Miki hears her very favourite voice calling to her.

The author’s message is clear: we all need someone (or perhaps more than one someone) to hold on to in stormy times. Essentially an endearing story of friendship, the book also includes some information about mother otters and their young.

In her chilly acrylic scenes Jane Chapman really captures the vastness of the ocean but at the same time focuses in on the otters and their feelings making this a lovely book to share with individuals or a nursery group.