The Otter Who Wanted to Know

Author: Jill Tomlinson
Read by: Maureen Lipman
BBC Audio
RRP: 5.99
ISBN-13: 978 1 846 07183 6
ISBN-10: 1 84607 183 6
Available 07 May 2007

Pat is an adorable little sea otter. She likes turning up her toes and floating in the sea, chasing fish and asking a hundred and one questions. One day Pat makes friends with another otter, called Bobby. The two enjoy playing and exploring together, until their lives are unexpectedly turned upside down when they get caught up in a storm and washed ashore on an island. Suddenly Pat doesn't have time to ask any questions, and even if she did, no one would know the answers. This time Pat just has to find things out for herself, to get back home to her family again...

The Otter Who Wanted to Know is another heart-warming story from best-selling author Jill Tomlinson, whose books have been hugely popular for nearly 30 years. Told in clear, simple language, this audio book is ideal for young listeners who can identify with the baby animals and their adventures.

The biggest problem I had with this release was the fact that Maureen Lipman insists (as she has with all previous releases) on providing voices with a regional dialect. Now, I know this probably makes sense - to provide an accent of the region of the world where the creatures come from (even if she wasn't so accurate with previous releases) but I found this to be distracting and a little cringeworthy.

I really don't understand the point of this. For example, the penguins in The Penguin Who Wanted to Find Out seemed to originate from Liverpool - mainly because I suppose no one would recognise a regional accent. Thank goodness there's no The Elephant that Wanted to Remember or the Dragon that wanted to be Chased. I'd hate to hear Lipman provide racist Indian and Chinese accents.

And don't think you've witnessed a grammatical error when Sam's mother makes a reference to "octopuses" - this is one of three ways of referring to more than one octopus (the other two being the popular "octopi" and the rarer "octopodes").

To be honest I didn't really think that much to this release - it's just more of the same really from the Tomlinson stable of animal stories. Kid's will probably enjoy it, but any adults who have to listen to it too will probably go insane.

Amber Leigh

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