From School Library Journal
Grade 2-4-A lively, informative introduction to an appealing mammal. Esbensen's descriptive narrative gives readers a sense of observing this playful animal firsthand, but not to the exclusion of basic facts about physical characteristics and survival skills, which are deftly woven into the text. Brown's illustrations depict the otters on land and in the water throughout the seasons. They alternate between double-page spreads and smaller illustrations against stark white backgrounds. The otters are realistically drawn, and the positions of their bodies successfully demonstrate their agility and mannerisms. However, the artwork here is not as effective as in her earlier books; the picture inside the den is so dark that it is difficult to distinguish the babies nestled against their mother. Nonetheless, Playful Slider is a good choice to expand upon Jim Arnosky's simpler Otters under Water (Putnam, 1992).Diane Nunn, Richard E. Byrd Elementary School, Glen Rock, NJ
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Ages 6-8. The saying "Playful as an otter" takes on meaning in this informative and attractively illustrated volume about North American river otters. Following the travels of two otters in the wild, the author describes how their frolicsome instinct separates them from their contentious relatives--skunks, weasels, fishers, badgers, martens, wolverines, and minks. But like the others, otters possess a scent gland that produces an odor that acts as a communication link to other otters. Their long, muscular bodies, short legs, and sensitive whiskers help them maneuver skillfully on top of and under snow and water and on dry land. The book describes the life of the otter as the seasons change--its home, feeding habits and reproductive cycle. The picture-book format works well. The large pages share a balance between text and color illustrations that capture the essence of these animals as they slip and slide in mud and snow and swim in circles just for the fun of it. Like Esbensen's Sponges,
below, this is a good choice for animal studies in the primary grades. Deborah Abbott