Book Review: Good Night, Little Sea Otter

Halfmann, Janet. Good Night, Little Sea Otter. Illus. Wish Williams. New York, NY: Star Bright Books, 2010.

Children will want to settle down for bedtime with Little Sea Otter as he snuggles onto Mama’s chest in a cozy bed of sea kelp and bids good night to all his ocean friends. From sea lions to sea snails, seagulls to seals and sea urchins, it seems he’ll never close his eyes. But gently rocking seas, twinkling stars, and Mama’s loving arms lull Little Sea Otter–and children everywhere–to dreamland.

This has got to be one of the prettiest bedtime books I’ve seen in a long time, and definitely one of my favorites. This is something that showed up in NetGalley and I was drawn in by the adorable cover, and because I can’t think of another picture book that features sea otters.

In the tradition of Goodnight Moon, this book follows Little Sea Otter as he says good night to everyone around him. That technique is nothing new. What makes it worth buying, however, are the beautiful illustrations on every page. As the story progresses, the colors gradually change from late evening to night. The first few pages are full of soft pastels, and the last page is mostly deep blues, with a spotlight on Mama and Little Sea Otter. Any page would make a great print to hang in the child’s bedroom.

Another really cool thing about the book is that all the animals mentioned provide a great entryway into learning about ocean life. I didn’t know that sea otters roll themselves in seaweed “that would keep them from drifting away during the night.” Now I want to find a nonfiction book on sea otters so I can learn more about them.

I definitely recommend this to any parent looking for something to add to the bedtime routine in addition to, or perhaps instead of, Goodnight Moon.