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Odder book


Readability Age Range



Year Published

Book Review

Odder loves to frolic and play in Monterey Bay. She’s a curious and daring otter, zipping through the water with ease. But when a shark injures Odder, sending her back to the aquarium where she was raised, this furry mammal learns that life is more than endless play.

Plot Summary

Odder dives and flips, twirls and splashes. She and her friend Kairi play and eat all day in Monterey Bay, California.

But below the surface, danger lurks.

A young shark sees the otters playing and goes in for the kill. He nips the end of Kairi’s tail, and Odder rushes to save her friend. The shark bites Odder, injuring her, but she escapes with her life.

Odder reaches land, and people from the Monterey Bay aquarium come and rescue her. She undergoes surgery, and in her delirium, she remembers that she’s been there before.

When Odder was just a pup, a storm separated her from her mom. After she washed ashore, people rescued her and took her to the aquarium. Once at the aquarium, her keepers cared for her and taught her how to be an otter so they could release her.

Odder swam in larger and larger tanks until she finally graduated to the ocean. One of her keepers swam with her, giving her the confidence she needed to brave the waves. One day, Odder saw other otters playing, and she knew it was time to leave.

Now, since the shark attack, Odder is back where she started. She will survive, but because of her injuries, Odder will live at the aquarium for the rest of her life. The bright spot is that Kairi was rescued too, so Odder still gets to see her friend.

But while the two otters might be safe, the aquarium comes with its own challenges. The keepers have introduced an orphaned pup to Kairi, and they hope that Kairi and Odder will help teach the pup everything they know.

Odder has to decide if she’s willing to help this orphaned pup live the life she never will.

Christian Beliefs


Other Belief Systems

Evolution is mentioned.

Authority Roles

Odder’s mom taught her to stay away from sharks and people. Odder’s friend Kairi warns her to be careful and stay away from danger, including people. Humans take care of Odder when she’s a pup and teach her to be an otter.

Profanity & Violence

A shark tries to eat Odder and Kairi. Animal deaths are mentioned, including that of a pup that was stillborn.

Sexual Content


Discussion Topics

What dangers do your parents warn you about? Why do you think they warn you?

What is a rule that keeps you safe?

Read Psalm 119:102-106. How do God’s rules help us?

Get free discussion questions for books at

Additional Comments

This is a sweet book that animal lovers will enjoy. Applegate infuses her characters with personality, and this story gives readers a great glimpse of how those at the Monterey Bay Aquarium work to rescue otters. However, some readers might not like that the story is written in verse instead of prose.

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Book reviews cover the content, themes and worldviews of fiction books, not necessarily their literary merit, and equip parents to decide whether a book is appropriate for their children. The inclusion of a book’s review does not constitute an endorsement by Focus on the Family.

Review by Rachel Pfeiffer