Otter was looking for dinner when he found love instead, in the form of a fish. "Impossible," he said, "I am in love with my food source." And Myrtle the fish, responded to his love.
Then the talking began. "It isn't right. It isn't natural. It isn't the way of the otter." And Myrtle learned that “the way of the otter” meant eating her family. So they separated.
But if this is not a happy-ever-after story, neither is it a tragic tale. Rather, it is a story of hope for a way that will bring Otter and Myrtle together, despite the talking, for a second chance. The result is a profound fable with many potential meanings for different aged readers, rather like The Story of Ferdinand. James Howe has explained how he came to write Otter and Odder.
In Chris Raschka's deceptively simple, child-like illustrations, Otter and Myrtle are drawn just a couple of crayon loops differently from each other, despite being predator and prey. The animal critics in the borders along their stream have a hint of Indian pictographs.