Review of Do Unto Otters: A Book About Manners by Laurie Keller

by Jennifer and Violet Ecklund-Johnson

Do Unto Otters: A Book About Manners is an entertaining book about the importance of the Golden Rule. In the story, Mr. Rabbit gets worried when his new neighbors move in. He thinks he will not be able to get along with them because they are otters and he doesn’t know anything about otters. Then his good friend the owl reminds him of an old saying: “Do unto otters as you would have otters do unto you.” The book humorously illustrates, through text and artwork, how to be friendly, polite, honest, considerate, cooperative, and fair. The story also explains the importance of apologizing when you are wrong and forgiving others when they apologize to you.

Violet thinks a key entertaining element of the book is the rabbit’s “Doo-Dee-Doo” song that he sings while hopping along. Her favorite part of the story is when the rabbit and the otters share with each other their favorite books—”Harry Otter” and “Goldilocks and the Three Hares,” their favorite activities—playing otter-totter and go fish, and their favorite treats—carrot pizza and fish-topped ice cream sundaes. Violet’s sister Hazel likes the part when one of the otters passes gas, “Pffft! Oops! Excuse me!” The book is comprehensive when it comes to good manners. It even tells the reader how to say “please,” “thank you,” and “excuse me” in five languages.

Reading this book together is a great way for kids to learn and reinforce good manners and the Golden Rule because it is fun and laugh-out-loud silly while including concrete examples of how to treat others and showing how that makes the characters feel. In our house, the kids respond to the comical characters and situations in the book, asking to read it again and again.