This is the (totally untrue) story of Elliott the Otter, commander-in-chief of the busy Elliott Bay. He compares himself to the diminutive tugboat who is “not very big, but has big responsibilities.” He goes on to tell all about the activity in the Bay from barges, freighters, cranes, orcas, salmon, and locks. Elliott has many duties and in the end, readers find out his most important job of all. . . The vibrant, larger-than-life illustrations of the boats dwarf Elliott the Otter, endearing this tiny boss to readers. Skewes’s artwork uses sharp lines and angular shapes with bright pops of color, in the style of animated cartoons. Readers will come away understanding that even small folk can have big, important jobs to do. VERDICT Though the takeaway is typical of many picture book stories, the energetic cartoon art and harbor scenes will appeal to youngsters.
—School Library Journal
The latest book from Greenwood’s John Skewes, writer/illustrator of the beloved Larry Gets Lost series, follows Elliott, a busy little otter who is pretty sure he’s the one who runs the show in the bay that shares his name. Elliott’s many important jobs include everything from ushering the container ships through the port to playing traffic cop for the salmon as they stampede through the locks. Skewes teams up with Sumner-based children’s poet and songwriter Eric Ode to tell a story that introduces kids to our busy working port.
Elliott, like the tugboats that ply the bay, “might not be very big, but he has big responsibilities.” He has barges to signal, orcas to greet and salmon to direct before it’s finally time to light up Seattle’s skyline. Both residents and tourists will learn a little about daily activities out on the water in this colorful picture book.
Elliott the Otter is another perfect blend of fact and fiction. . . . In a simple way and through a lovable character, kids (and adults) learn about the inner workings of a harbor, and if those kids and adults happen to live in Seattle like us, then they’re better able to connect to the city and understand what makes it tick. Besides learning about cargo, barges, and freighters, Elliott teaches us about orca pods, salmon navigation, and the transition from fresh water to salt water. Such important information presented in an easy to understand format. The illustrations are playful, yet realistic. Playful and exaggerated enough to grab the attention of the reader, but also realistic enough so that the reader will recognize and associate the images with the real life version.
—Wild Tales Of
. . . gives kids a close look at life in Elliott Bay. From tugboats to orcas, Elliot the Otter explains all. He also describes what fish ladders are and why they are so important to salmon.
—Teaching My Baby to Read