With Your Paw In Mine by Jane Chapman

This is an exquisite picture book with a sweet message and stunning illustrations. When I flicked through the pages, I thought they should be framed and on display, it was so beautiful! 

The endpapers

The setting is the ocean. The ocean must be an illustrator’s dream subject with cool colours changing from light to deep blue that play with green and turn into aqua and turquoise. The power of the waves is defined by the stark white brush strokes while the ocean spray is perfectly captured by tiny white splats. There is so much movement it the pictures you almost feel as if you are splashing about in the ocean with the otters. The otter’s fur looks like if you touch the page, you might feel the velvety softness.

I’m all for the appreciation of great art, but our excursions to the art gallery are too few and far between. Picture books are a great way to enjoy art up close, with the added benefit of a heartwarming story too!

In this beautiful story, Jane Chapman draws us into the love between mama and bub, and playfulness enjoyed by the otters.  The first two pages show us the strong bond between mama and bub as they cuddle in the ocean and mama gives bub swimming lessons to teach her how to be safe in the ocean.

Mama ensures that bub, Miki, is safe when she leaves to look for food. Miki befriends another little otter, Amak, also waiting for his mama.  Together, they explore the ocean and have fun, until the storm hits. It is fascinating to see how the otters stay safe when the ocean throws them around, and that is the simple message:

“We all need someone’s paw to hold when the big waves come.” 

The evocative language and stunning artwork turn this story into a literary and artistic masterpiece. If you like to read your little one beautiful examples of alliteration, then this is the picture book to read. 

Suggested age: Read aloud to 4+. Read by self 6+. Recommended for a confident reader.

Published by Little Tiger, UK, 2018

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