Oliver's Otter Phase

Kirkus Reviews - December 2017

Connors' tender story captures a young child’s vivid imagination, but it is also a teacher’s dream, incorporating facts about otters in “snapshots” on each page, augmented by detailed science facts and activities in the backmatter, with permission to print. Jones’ delightful, expressive, and smooth-edged digital illustrations are an apt match with the text and add humor while also sliding in still more otter facts.

Deftly capitalizing on children’s predilection for imaginative play, this book neatly packs a solid informational punch.

Midwest Book Review - May 2018

Oliver is a creative boy whose visit to an aquarium to see sea otters influenced hi to begin imagining how it would fell to be a sea ottter. He surprised his parents with many of his sea otter-like imitative behaviors, like chewing his food carefully, using his body as a plate, and sliding around on his belly. He even pretended he had an underarm pouch and tucked a cookie there for after his bath. Oliver learned that sea otters ate a lot of clams and sea urchins instead of fish, and that they used rocks and shells as tools. One of the most appealing feature of "Oliver's Otter Phase" is its endearing, expressive illustrations, encouraging young readers to imagine themselves as young sea otters just like Oliver.

Children's and Young Adult Book Review Board of Missouri

After a family trip to an aquarium, Oliver decides he is a sea otter. He pretends to be tied with kelp, eats like an otter, and squirms off to play on his stomach. But, then he decides “I want to stop being an otter, except for one very special thing.” Oliver snuggles with Mom, just like a baby otter. This wonderful fiction book crosses over into non-fiction with science facts printed in small boxes on most pages. Text and colorful digital generated illustrations support each other. The three human characters depict a bi-racial family with a black mother, white father, and bi-racial boy. Teachers will appreciate the four pages of learning activities and the additional online ones. Preschool and primary-age children will learn otter facts while enjoying a touching story about family. The book is an appropriate read-aloud but will also be selected by beginning and developing readers. Both English and Spanish editions are available.

Puget Sound Council for the Review of Children's Books

This is an amusing story that teaches children a little about otter behavior and fantasy play. Karen Jones' soft and warm illustrations are like an otter hug (though a lot drier.) End pages provide additional information about both sea and river otters. These are, indeed, adorable critters. Students who love them will undoubtedly enjoy this book.

Kids Book Buzz - July 2018

Oliver’s Otter Phase by Lisa Connors was a good book. Oliver really likes otters so much that he is pretending to be one. In acting like an otter, he puts food on his stomach to eat, he stores food under his armpit, he wiggles and dives off of the chairs, and, his favorite part, he snuggles with his mom. The author includes a lot of facts at the end of the book about different kinds of otters and how humans and otters are alike and different. I really like how the pictures and the snapshots from their trip are showing at the bottom of each page. My favorite part of the book is when his dad takes him to the grocery store and Oliver wants to hold onto string like his otters hold onto kelp. I give the book 4.5 stars. - Reviewed by Safiya (Age 9)

Archimedes Notebook - July 2018

Oliver tries out a lot of otter behaviors that don't make sense for kids, and one that does. A fun story for any kid who's wanted to be something more exciting than a ... kid - even if they would rather be a polar bear or eagle. Back matter includes a comparison chart for otters and humans (you can make one for the animal your kid wants to be), plus more otter info and a fun game.

Our Everyday Harvest - March 2018

Oliver's Otter Phaseis probably the most humorous of the bunch. Like Dear Komodo Dragon, this on is also a fictional story, but at the same time it's packed with plenty of educational information that would be perfect for a marine mammal or otter unit study...This is such a cute story, especially for young children. There is a lot of funny antics included, as well as adorable illustrations that we both enjoyed.

Heck of a Bunch - March 2018

I have to say that Oliver's Otter Phase is at the top of my list of favorite children's books. It tells about otters in an engaging way, and Oliver is a kooky, yet adorable, boy. The illustrations are also appealing... The "For Creative Minds" section after the story has several facts on marine mammals, explains the differences and similarities between humans and otters, explains the differences and similarities between sea otters and river otters, and has a learning experiment on the way that Oliver uses tools as compared to sea otters.

Outnumbered 3 to 1 - April 2018

Oliver’s Otter Phase is a fictional story about a boy that went to the aquarium and saw otters so now he wants to act like one. On each page he tries to do an activity otters do. Like eating like an otter or taking a bath like an otter. Throughout the day he slowly realizes he doesn’t have the same adaptations and it might just be better to be a boy. Big Sis thought the whole book was “ridiculous” but then I caught her acting out like different animals so clearly this “silly book” had her thinking.

Children's Literature Review, Ohio School Leadership Foundation & University of Cincinnati SDI Center - June 2018

Highly Recommended - Great for younger students.

All About Books with Janet Squires - January 2019

Recommended for home and school libraries. Great discussion starter for STEM studies.

Reviews by Rachel - June 2019

Young readers will enjoy learning about otters as they go through a day of imagining in the life of Oliver. The young boy is fascinated with otters, so he spends the day pretending to be one. Playful illustrations bring life to the story. The book includes 4-page For Creative Minds at the end of the story as well as an online 30-page cross-curricular Teaching Activity Guide.