|If you take away the otter|
Author: Buhrman-Deever, Susannah
An explanation of how the behavior of sea otters has a ripple effect on marine ecology that preserves kelp forests when the otters are protected and endangers kelp forests when the otters are hunted.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: LG
Reading Level: 5.00
Points: .5 Quiz: 509432
Kirkus Reviews (03/01/20)
School Library Journal (05/01/20)
The Hornbook (00/05/20)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 04/15/2020 Adding to a growing list of picture books that consider the impact of apex predator extinction, such as Lily Williams' If Elephants Disappeared (2019), comes this informational book with a focus on sea otters. First the author sets the scene: ocean forests of kelp along the Pacific shore provide nourishment, protection, and homes to fish, sea urchins, and a plethora of other marine animals. The “king” of these interconnected lives, however, is the sea otter. But what would happen, as the title suggests, if the otter were taken away? Buhrman-Deever explains how, starting in the 1700s, Russian explorers in Alaska nearly drove the otter to extinction through hunting for the international fur trade. Her vivid descriptions relate the devastating consequences on the ocean forest until a 1911 treaty protected the remaining otters. While larger text tells the story and smaller text adds important details, blue- and green-hued illustrations resembling watercolors highlight the habitat’s richness. A concluding note addresses the fur trade’s negative impact on the area’s indigenous people. An insightful cautionary tale for young readers. - Copyright 2020 Booklist.
Booklist - 04/15/2020 - Copyright 2020 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 05/01/2020 Gr 2–4—The conditions needed to maintain the health of a kelp forest's ecosystem involve interdependent factors. Buhrman-Deever explains the science behind what happened to kelp forests when hunters brought the otter to near extinction in the early 1900s. Why were otters desirable? Their fur, which has "around one million hairs in a space the size of a quarter," is extremely warm. However, the international fur trade was not beneficial to everyone. As a result of the industry boom and an influx of explorers, Indigenous people experienced violence and disease. The otter population was drastically reduced. Otters helped keep an ecological balance by preventing their prey, the urchin, from overwhelming the kelp forests. The decreasing otter population allowed the abundance of urchins to decimate the kelp forest. In 1911, the United States, Russia, Japan, and Great Britain signed the International Fur Seal Treaty, which "stopped non-Indigenous sea otter hunting and selling of otter furs." In time, the otters returned. The luminous illustrations and clear text help young readers understand the causes and effects of the otter fur trade. The book's large type will appeal to younger readers. Facts printed in small type are suited for experienced readers. Back matter consists of a summary of the book's content, a selected bibliography, further reading, and websites. VERDICT A solid purchase for all public and elementary school libraries.—Nancy Call, formerly at Santa Cruz Public Libraries, Aptos, CA - Copyright 2020 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.