Friday, April 3, 2020

Review - Milton & Odie and the Bigger-than-Bigmouth Bass

Milton & Odie and the Bigger-than-Bigmouth Bass
by Mary Ann Fraser
Date: 2019
Publisher: Charlesbridge
Reading level: C
Book type: picture book
Pages: 32
Format: e-book
Source: library

It's ice-fishing season for two very opposite otters. Pessimism, prepare to meet optimism!

On one side of a frozen lake, Odie imagines all the fish he'll catch today. On the other side of the lake, Milton is doubtful he'll catch anything at all. As each otter imagines what lurks--or doesn't lurk--under the ice, opposites attract, attitudes change, and a friendship is formed.

(synopsis from; see it on Goodreads)

Milton and Odie are a couple of otters who go ice fishing. While Milton is pessimistic and grumpy, Odie is optimistic and cheerful. Milton's failures to catch anything reinforce his belief that there's nothing good under the ice. Odie's failures, on the other hand, simply convince him to keep trying. Eventually, the two otters' paths cross, and they share their skills and viewpoints with each other, collaborating to achieve their goals.

The illustrations of the critters here are really adorable, and the writing is strong. I also like the way the otters' opposite perspectives are portrayed. However, there are some folks for whom this book just isn't going to work. Vegetarian and vegan parents might want to check this one out first before giving it to their children, as the anthropomorphizing of the fish--and the subsequent catching and killing--make for a bit of a disturbing theme. (Yes, I know otters eat fish. But when the fish are portrayed as smiling, playing dress-up, and blowing bubbles with bubblegum, it's rather sad to see the carcass of one illustrated on one of the last pages.)

I'd recommend this, but with reservations. Vegetarians and vegans (or anyone who hates seeing animals harmed) might find it a bit disturbing. Those who enjoy fishing and who aren't bothered by knowing where their food comes from will probably find it more appropriate.

Premise: 4/5
Meter: n/a
Writing: 4/5
Illustrations: 4/5
Originality: 4/5

Enjoyment: 2/5

Overall: 3.33 out of 5

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