Review of Hey Otter! Hey Beaver!

Hey Otter! Hey Beaver! Hey Otter! Hey Beaver!
by Brian Pinkney; illus. by the author
Preschool    Greenwillow    40 pp.
1/23    9780063159822    $18.99

Each element of this playful battle of wills between two best friends exudes joie de vivre. Otter spots sticks and branches and sees them as toys. Beaver, however, sees them as tools to build a dam, and so the pair spends a happy day jostling over who gets the twigs. The patterned, rhythmic dialogue between Otter and Beaver makes for a musical read-aloud: “Give me those branches. I need those branches. Please give me give me give me those branches right now!” The illustrations reinforce that this is all in good fun: frolicking, not bickering, without any moralizing over the value of work over play. Exuberant Otter is shaped like a smile, and stalwart Beaver is sturdy and strong. The two mirror each other in spread after spread, set against sunny, impressionistic backdrops made of swoops and swirls in glowing yellows and cool aquas. While this book is bound to become a storytime favorite, the word repetition, straightforward plot, and clear images make it a fine choice for new readers too. Please give us give us give us more Otter and Beaver. ­

From the March/April 2023 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Adrienne L. Pettinelli

Adrienne L. Pettinelli is the director of the Henrietta (NY) Public Library. She has served on several book award committees, including the 2015 Caldecott Committee, and is the author of Helping Homeschoolers in the Library (2008).

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