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Mary Casanova - Books for Young People
Utterly Otterly Day
written by Mary Casanova
illus. by Ard Hoyt
Simon & Schuster, 2008
(HC) 978-1416908685
Utterly Otterly Day from Autographed books!
Utterly Otterly Day
Little Otter likes to play in a carefree, unabashed, utterly otterly way.

Mom warns Little Otter, “Be careful!”

Dad says, “Stay close!”

But does Little Otter listen? Oh, no! No. No. No. Little Otter thinks he’s a big otter now, big enough to take care of himself. But watch out, Little Otter, because no matter how big you get, it’s good to have loved ones looking out for you.

Mary Casanova and Ard Hoyt have teamed up for their third picture book, Utterly Otterly Day. All three books are delightful read-alouds that celebrate the unique characters of animals. Mary's cleverly crafted word play combined with Ard's marvelous illustrations make these books children will ask for again and again.

Reviews and Comments

Little Otter speeds through his day at a breakneck pace, from the moment he wakes up and rouses his sleepy family to his spine-tingling sunset escape from a hungry cougar. In between, he eludes a falling tree, an eagle, a snapping turtle, and an angry fisherman. After each escape, he tells himself that “he's a big otter now,” and swims away with typical preschooler bravado. His close call with the cougar leaves him shaken, however, and he retreats to the safety and and comfort of the den. As he accepts some parental snuggles, he admits that “He needs his family--no matter how big her grows.” Alliteration and onomatopoeic phrases (“whiippidy, slippidy,” “swishily swashily”) combine to give a sense of the hustle and bustle of Little Otter's day. Sketchy watercolor drawings with multiple perspectives lend a feeling of constant movement, while the recurring image of a yellow butterfly ties the story together. As Little Otter falls asleep, he dreams of being carried away by a swarm of them, demonstrating that he is bold even in his sleep ... Additionally, there is just enough information about otters to whet readers' appetites for further research--Rachael Vilmar, Eastern Shore Regional Library, Salisbury, MD.

—School Library Journal, Rachael Vilmar,
Easter Shore Regional Library, Salisbury, MD

Otter play gets its visual due in this adorable tale of one little otter's determination to prove "he's a big otter now.” At the beginning of a bright new day Little Otter is intent on having as much fun as possible. He cracks clams—“Clickety, clunkery, crunch!”—floats with fish and avoids a panoply of dangers. A run-in with a voracious cougar ends happily but reminds Little Otter that no matter how big he grows, he still needs his family from time to time...

—Kirkus Reviews

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Mary Casanova is a fiscal year 2023 recipient of a Creative Support for Individuals grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board and the Arrowhead Regional Arts Board. This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, thanks to a legislative appropriation by the Minnesota State Legislature; and by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.

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