Author: Heidi and Daniel Howarth

5-Year-Olds Storybooks

This recommended children's book is about a little otter who is afraid to let go of his parents’ hands. He worries about swimming and floating on his own, and about being alone. This is a great story for children who have trouble leaving their parents' sides. Hopefully, by the end of this book, kids will see how they can be more independent.

Before, During and After Reading

Letter Knowledge

Find letters.  After introducing the title and author, ask your child if she can find the letter 'O.' You might ask: How many letter Os are in the title? Which are uppercase letters and which are lowercase? How can you tell the difference between uppercase and lowercase?

Oral Language

Do some research on otters.  Then tell your child about characteristics and behaviors of otters (e.g., You might see otters at the zoo or in bodies of water. Otters spend most of their lives in the water. Their bodies are perfect for diving and swimming. They have long, slightly flattened tails that move sideways to propel them through the water.) You might even involve your child in doing some research about otters on your computer before reading the story.     

Oral Language

Throughout the story, use the illustrations to start a conversation. Point to the pictures of the otter’s facial expressions and ask How do you think the otter feels? and What do you think made him feel that way? Have your child come up with reasons why the otter could be feeling that way and have her predict what might happen next in the story.

Beginning Writing

Ask your child to draw a new ending. In the story, the otter finally lets go of his parents’ hands when he sees the pearl. Have your child draw a picture of something else that could have encouraged the otter to let go of his parents’ hands. Then have your child explain what she drew and have her retell the ending of the story. 

Explore other recommended children's books and reading activities for five-year-olds, or take the Reading BrightStart! Preschool Reading Screener. The screener can help you determine if your child is on the path to reading readiness, and provides a free plan for moving forward.