Scramble is a little otter who can't swim. At the beginning of the story, we find him in the middle of writing a list. It's his Can-do and Can't-do List. The Can't-do side just says 'Swimming'. One small word. But not being able to swim is a big deal for Scramble. It means he's teased by some of the riverbank animals. It means he feels left out when everyone else is in the water. And it means he spends hours and hours sitting on his own on the slippery rock wishing and wishing and wishing that he could. But something is going round in Scramble's head. Something his mummy has said. Something his older sister has said. 'You've got to start small' And so, slowly, slowly, Scramble builds his confidence in the water - overcoming each new incremental goal that he sets himself. Until, finally, Scramble really can swim! At the heart of this gentle story about learning a new skill is the message of encouragement - something that is important for toddlers everywhere.
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(245mm x 245mm x 3mm)
Oxford University Press
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Country of Publication:
US Kirkus Review »
There are lots of things Otto can do: "Forward roly-poly / Backward roly-poly / Being kind to frogs...." There's just one thing he can't do, and that's swim, which is a problem when you're an otter. Little by little, coaxed and encouraged by his mom and wise older sister, he makes the attempt, he practices daily, and - wouldn't you know it? - the day finally comes when Otto succeeds swimmingly. Marlow's soft watercolors depict an appealingly snub-nosed little otter whose anxious look turns into triumph over the course of the brief tale. Together with the quiet, reassuring, albeit bland story, the whole makes for a pleasant enough read, although it lacks the graphical and narrative oomph of such tales as Simon James's Little One-Step (2003) or Robert Kraus's classic Leo the Late Bloomer (1971). Nevertheless, children will likely root for Otto and may be emboldened to try out something on their own "CAN'T DO" lists. (Picture book. 3-5) (Kirkus Reviews)
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