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Cover image for Lottie & Walter
Lottie & Walter
Other title(s):
Lottie and Walter
Boston ; New York : Clarion Books, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, [2019]
Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 26 cm
Lottie secretly knows there is a shark in the pool waiting to eat her, until her new walrus friend, Walter, helps her to conquer her fear.


Call Number
JP Walker

On Order



An original, compelling, and visually stunning treatment of a common childhood predicament: overcoming a fear of the water.

Lottie goes to swim lessons every Saturday, but she never gets in the water. That's because she is convinced there is a shark in the pool, a shark that wants to eat her and only her. But then Walter appears. Walter likes singing and reading books and bubble baths, and his favorite food is fish sticks, just like Lottie. When Saturday rolls around again, Lottie is no more ready to jump in the pool than she was before. Or is she? Sometimes it just takes a special friend to find the courage that was inside you all along.

Author Notes

Anna Walker was born in 1970 and is based in Melbourne, Australia. She writes and illustrates children's books. Her work includes Peggy, I Love to Dance, Hurry Up Alfie, Today We Have No Plans (with Jane Godwin), Starting School (with Jane Godwin), Little Cat and the Big Red Bus (with Jane Godwin), All Through the Year (with Jane Godwin), and What do you Wish for? (with Jane Godwin). Her latest book as author/illustrator, Mr. Huff, won the 2016 CBCA Book of the Year for Early Childhood.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 4

School Library Journal Review

PreS-Gr 2--Lottie keeps her fear a secret, but she knows that the pool where she takes swim lessons hides a ravenous shark--hiding and waiting just for her. Her fear is real, visualized on a spread with an image of Lottie poised at pool's edge, just inches from the nose of an enormous shark. Each week she waits until all of the other children have entered the water…and simply doesn't. Everything changes when a walrus named Walter appears. Despite his enormous size, Walter has a gentle temperament; he likes to sing, read books, take bubble baths, and play with Lottie. Even with her own personal walrus, she is most reluctant to return to the pool for a special party, for she just doesn't want to get into the water--or be eaten. Walter's familiar voice singing from deep under the water changes her mind. Images washed with a filmy haze bring the water and Walter to life. VERDICT A suggested general purchase for all libraries, this tale of courage found through strength from a friend, however imaginary, validates a child's feelings and may encourage discussion of personal fears.--Mary Elam, Learning Media Services, Plano ISD, TX

Publisher's Weekly Review

Lottie firmly believes there is a shark lurking in the pool where she's supposed to be taking group swim lessons. What's more, the shark, whose menacing blue-gray body seems to have materialized from the murky depths, has very specific tastes: it "didn't want to eat the other kids. It wanted to eat Lottie." So Lottie perches on a bench in a bright red suit with a towel over her head each week, "watched, waited, put her shoes back on, and went home again." When Lottie is told of an imminent pool party, she shivers, then conjures up an antidote to the shark: a big floppy walrus named Walter, who has a pretty impressive set of teeth himself. He gains Lottie's confidence at home, sleeping on her top bunk and playing hide-and-seek, then ultimately coaxes her into the water with a call of "Humbelly doo, lumbelly la, loopy loo." Quiet prose by Walker (Florette), a doll-like protagonist wearing oversize flippers, and soft, thoughtful watercolors give this story of facing one's fears an intimate, confiding feel, with happy, hulking Walter adding just the right amount of gentle amusement. Ages 4-7. (June) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Kirkus Review

Lottie knows something no one else knows. Her mother and brother don't know. Her swimming instructor does not know, and the other children in swim class certainly don't know. There is a shark that lives in the pool. It wants to eat Lottieonly Lottieand Lottie is not going to let it get anywhere near her. Most children have had moments when they've sat on the sidelines watching others laugh and play because they were too scared to just dive in, and that is precisely where Lottie finds herself. Lucky for her, Walter shows up just in time. He sings, they read books, play in bubbles, and even share the same favorite food. But when it comes time for Lottie to face her fears, can Walter truly help? Walter, as readers and Lottie see but her family may not, is an enormous walrus. Walker's soft and appropriately watery illustrations complement and extend her whimsical text, lending a dreamlike feel to the story. Readers will discern the shadowy, predatory shape of the shark below the surface of the water even as Lottie's classmates splash and play, and they will sympathize, and they will giggle at the depictions of Walter's huge bulk in Lottie's tidy urban home while believing that Walter will protect her. Lottie, her mother, and her brother have light-brown skin and black hair.A quiet book about making a giant leap. (Picture book. 3-5) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Booklist Review

Convinced there's a shark waiting at the bottom of the pool, ready to eat her, young Lottie is afraid to swim. One day after a lesson spent sitting poolside, an enormous walrus appears. Gentle and lovable, Walter spends the week with Lottie, singing, reading books, enjoying fish fingers, and playing hide-and-seek. When Saturday rolls around again, Lottie finds she can now enjoy the pool with Walter there to encourage her. The author of Hurry Up, Alfie! (2016) and Florette (2018) offers a gentle story addressing a common childhood fear. Neither Mom nor Walter pushes Lottie to jump before she is ready, but Walter's friendship and singing (""Humbelly doo, lumbelly la, loopy loo!"") help Lottie to take the plunge. Soothing gouache-and-pencil illustrations feature lots of white space, muted colors, and an eye for fine details. Human faces are almost expressionless, leaving readers free to focus on various pool toys, kitchen gadgets, and the amiable Walter. Pair with Valeri Gorbachev's No Swimming for Nelly (2018) to help ease the overly cautious into the water.--Kay Weisman Copyright 2019 Booklist