For the Love of Octopuses


A few years ago I read The Soul of an Octopus: A Surprising Exploration into the Wonders of Consciousness by Sy Montgomery. I decided then and there to never eat octopus, and by extension, calamari again – I am not yet unilaterally consistent in this decision as I still eat other meat – but I am eating less and less and thinking about my choices. I mention this abrupt conclusion I made to emphasize how I fell in love with octopuses. And why I picked up Octopuses One to Ten by Ellen Jackson and Robin Page (Beach Lane Books, 2016).

Octopuses One to Ten is a great example of a multi-concept book, and it’s told in rhyme. It’s adorable, educational and fun. The main story is told using illustrations of the giant Pacific octopus. Each spread has a side bar – I love the use of sidebars – without being too busy. After 9 full-page spreads of a rhyme and information on the giant Pacific octopus, the book transitions with #10 to back matter on 10 different octopuses. These pages show how big each octopus species would be next to a human with a small graphic in the corner that is both simple in execution and powerful in its message.

There is so much information packed into this book, yet it doesn’t scream at you. It didn’t overload my senses like so many busy books do. It pulled me in and made me want to start over again as soon as I’d finished. It’s perfect for sharing with your little reader.

8 thoughts on “For the Love of Octopuses

  1. I read The Soul of an Octopus last year and continue to be affected by that book. (Anything Sy Montgomery writes is fantastic). I will check out this picture book as a gift for nieces and nephews. Thank you!

  2. Lisa, Once again you have me adding to my library list. Can’t wait to read it! Love your choices. Recently I looked on line for info about octopus hearts recently and found that the woman researcher is named Liz Conners. I did a double take!

  3. Back in the 1970s I read several books by Jacques Cousteau, one about Octopus & Squid. Fascinating! I am not an adventurous eater so octopus was never going to be in my diet anyway, but knowing about octopus from Cousteau I could not imagine eating a creature with such intelligence and self-awareness. Lisa, I don’t know you yet, but maybe we will meet when you come to Grinnell in May – I work at the public library there. I feel like we are kindred souls already. 🙂

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