Tost [sic] of the Town: I Am Otter by Sam Garton
HI! I AM OTTER.
NO ONE KNOWS WHERE I CAME FROM.
OTTER KEEPER SAYS THAT HE FOUND ME IN A BOX ON HIS DOORSTEP ONE DAY.
I WISH I'D MADE THE MOST OF BEING SMALL.
Otter loves the weekends. Otter Keeper is home and he and Otter and Teddy Bear have fun. Otter gets most of the attention, since Teddy just sort of sits around.
But when the work week rolls around and Otter Keeper leaves early in the morning, Otter gets bored and lonely. But when stowing away in Otter Keeper's briefcase and drowning the alarm clock in the goldfish bowl don't work, Otter decides that he and Teddy need their own jobs!
They hang out their sign [TOST RESTRANT] and Otter institutes employee training.
Teddy's learning curve is NOT steep.
And at the grand opening things go very wrong:
TEDDY FORGOT TO TAKE RESERVATIONS.
HE HADN'T TOLD ANYONE HOW MUCH OUR TOAST WOULD COST.
HE GOT ORDERS WRONG. SOME OF THE CUSTOMERS HAD TO BE ASKED TO LEAVE.
When Otter Keeper comes home from work, he finds his day is far from over. The whole place is a mess, and the kitchen is in shambles. The window is still open where disgruntled and unruly patrons were forcibly ejected. Toast toppings are everywhere--catsup, jam, Tobasco sauce, maraschino cherries--and some of Teddy's plush cohorts seem to have collapsed with their noses in Otter's culinary creations. Otter tries to explain that it is all Teddy's fault. But where IS Teddy?
Popular humor blogger Sam Garton introduces his comic character Otter to the picture bookosphere in his just published I Am Otter (Balzer And Bray, 2014). Otter is an adorably well-meaning but mischievous character in the venerable tradition of H.A. Rey's Curious George, and his young and earnest Otter Keeper is the worthy successor to the Man in the Yellow Hat. Garton's dead-pan narrative is clever, his page design is perfect, and his wry portrayal of his energetic but naive pet has so many amusing details that it will take kids a while to get through this story as they stop to laugh along the way. Kirkus Reviews simply says, "Hysterical!"