Book Review: Otter’s Coat
Reviewed by Jaylynn Korrell
A fresh twist on a classic children’s story
Many people know Aesop’s fable “The Tortoise and the Hare,” but do they know that there are different versions for different cultures? With a Cherolachian twist on why the two animals were racing in the first place, Otter’s Coat: The Real Reason Turtle Raced Rabbit dives into a fresh backstory of this infamous race, and it results in an exciting, fresh story for kids to enjoy.
Otter in Otter’s Coat is known to have the most beautiful coat of any animal in the forest. He plans to show it off at the upcoming festival. Rabbit on the other hand has other plans.
As one of the smartest animals in the woods, he plans to use his cunning mind to manipulate Otter into giving him his gorgeous coat.
It doesn’t turn out to be so easy though. There are some consequences that come from using his brilliant mind to trick Otter. The confidence he feels with his new stolen coat is part of the reason he agrees to race the turtle, but you’ll have to read the story to find out exactly what happens next.
Filled with vivid colors, the artwork of Otter’s Coat will capture the attention of readers young and old. These beautiful illustrations depict animals in their natural environment along with trees, lakes, and mountains. It’s complete with a wide variety of animal characters including a friendly looking bear, a wise owl, and a special turtle. It even includes a fun game within the book of trying to find and keep count of all the cute hidden chipmunks.
The additions to Aesop’s fable is what makes this story stand out. It includes so many more fun characters than we know from the original tale. Everything remains positive, too; Smith is able to detail the rabbit’s wrongdoings without making him a villain. All of the characters are kind, understanding, and forgiving, which makes Otter’s Coat a nice example for how to deal with people when they make mistakes.
Child readers will enjoy hearing this book read aloud to them. They’ll also learn from a brief history lesson at the end of the story detailing what a Cherolachian is and how the Cherokee people and new settlers lived amongst each others in America. Smith has created a beautiful pairing to a classic story.
Genre: Children’s / Cherokee / Appalachia
Print Length: 40 pages
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