The Books

Do Unto Otters

by Laurie Keller

One Potato Review

Here is a Book About Manners that hits all the usual marks – saying please, saying thank you, being honest – with unusual relish and flair, even throughout marginal subplots like a ball that hypothetically bounces between properties (“Dear Mr. Rabbit,” writes the responsible otter. “Thank you for returning my ball. You must have returned a lot of balls before because you made it look so easy!”), and a neighborly bee (“Would you like me to stop stinging you now?” Otter: “Yes, please”). There’s “excuse me” in five languages in case you are traveling – to Spain, to Germany, Japan and wherever Pig Latin is spoken. Plus sections on honesty, playing fair, sharing (books: Harry Otter), and a not always obvious inventory of considerate acts (being a good listener, respecting the elderly and helping neighbors untangle their ears). Then finally some words about teasing – “It’s worse than having a clam snap shut on your nose,” declares one of those otters – a wave of hilarity that continues through Mr. Rabbit’s Do-Dee-Do song in the end.

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