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Seababy: A Little Otter Returns Home    by Ellen Levine & Jon Van Zyle order for
by Ellen Levine
Order:  USA  Can
Walker, 2012 (2012)
* *   Reviewed by Bob Walch

This picture book is based on an actual rescue program conducted by California's Monterey Bay Aquarium, and the author discussed baby otter care with the staff's scientists to make it as authentic as possible.

The story begins with a baby sea otter separated from his mother during a storm. The little fellow is washed up on shore where he is found and taken to the aquarium. Once he is checked for injuries, the otter is placed in a special pool, where he is cared for and is allowed to mature in a safe environment.

Care is taken so that the pup doesn't rely too much on humans because one day he will be returned to his ocean home. After he is introduced to a bigger pool with an adult otter - who teaches him how to dive for mussels, crabs and clams, and then break them open on a rock - the little otter is ready to go home.

Two staff members from the aquarium place the otter in a carrier and take him to a local beach where he is set loose. Within minutes the otter is back in his natural environment in the seaweed beds and making new friends.

Excellent illustrations and a very topical subject make this an excellent picture book for youngsters who want to know more about the otters they see in coastal waters.

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