The Sinking of Captain Otter (review)

The Sinking of Captain Otter
Written by Troy Wilson and Illustrated by Maira Chiodi
Owlkids Books
Published 15 Oct 2018
ARC provided by NetGalley

Synopsis (Owlkids):

Kelpy is an otter—and also a passionate sea captain. He builds himself a ship that he adores, from keel to cabin to crow’s nest. All the other otters and pirates and sharks just laugh at Kelpy’s ramshackle craft, but Kelpy sails on. Until one day on the high seas, he encounters a sailor even more laughable than himself—a petite butterfly pirate in a teeny-tiny boat.

Kelpy’s laughter shifts to empathy when he realizes how much he has hurt the tiny pirate’s feelings. So Kelpy decides to scuttle his beloved boat in a playful ploy to repair the emotional damage he’s done. Along the way, an unlikely friendship (and rivalry) begins.

Packed with rhyme, repetition, and lots of humor, this is a read-aloud with a heartwarming message about following your dreams even in the face of ridicule and doubt, and how even an underdog can lift someone up.


My Review

What a wonderful story! Kelpy is an otter who wants to be a Captain. He already had the head, heart, and hat for it, and after a lot of hard work, he had the ship for it. It was a fine ship, and he loved it, but others didn’t. Everyone he met laughed and pointed at his ship. Bullying and making fun of people (or otters) for things they love, is never right, nor fun for the person being laughed at. Kelpy carried on, though, until he met a butterfly who had the same dream Kelpy did. Unfortunately, Kelpy didn’t do the right thing the first time, but his heart wouldn’t let him be mean for long, and he ended up with a friend to play with. Maybe now, the other otters and sharks will see the fun they missed out on by being mean and will want to play Captain and Pirates in the future.

Wilson’s story has several great messages: getting laughed at hurts, believe in yourself, be kind, and never turn into a bully just because you were bullied. These messages are brilliantly brought to life through Chiodi’s illustrations.

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