FICTION

Octopuses!: Strange and Wonderful

illus. by Meryl Henderson. 32p. illus. notes. Boyds Mills. Apr. 2015. Tr $16.95. ISBN 9781590789285. LC 2014945964.
COPY ISBN
Gr 2–5—Pringle adds another volume to the many books on octopuses published over the last few years. This title differs from the others in that it features illustrations rather than photographs and presents material in a straight read rather than compartmentalized sections. Pringle compresses a surprising amount of factual material into this informational picture book. His writing style flows well, with details smoothly woven into a cohesive read. Pringle discusses this intelligent invertebrate's body parts, explaining how this amazing creature can change shape and color, as well as skin texture. He also identifies predators, introduces different species of octopus, and sheds light on how these animals catch their food. Henderson's charming watercolor artwork effectively reinforces the material within the text. Readers are invited them to locate six octopuses hidden within a spread; an answer key has been appended. Those seeking volumes with more structured organization and photographs should consult Kevin Pearce's Being an Octopus (Gareth Stevens, 2014), Colleen Kessler's Octopuses (Abdo, 2014), or Anna Claybourne's Octopuses (Raintree, 2013). Aimed at younger audiences, Cari Meister's Octopuses (Bullfrog, 2013) also contains photos but is briefer in scope. In contrast, Melissa Gish's Octopuses (Creative Education, 2013) is for older students. A worthy introduction.—Lynn Vanca, Freelance Librarian, Akron, OH
Thorough descriptions present scientific information about these mollusks, including impressive facts about their versatile bodies and "smart" behaviors (e.g., shooting a decoy cloud of octopus-shaped ink to fool predators) along with the basics about physiology, reproduction, and habitat. Henderson's illustrations feature a colorful range of octopus species, deftly conveying their amazing beauty, flexibility, and motion. Reading list, websites. Glos., ind.
Pringle (Scorpions!, rev. 1/14) introduces readers to another utterly amazing animal: the octopus. The text's thorough descriptions present scientific information about these mollusks, including impressive facts about their versatile bodies and "smart" behaviors (e.g., shooting a decoy cloud of octopus-shaped ink to fool predators; solving mazes) along with the basics about physiology, reproduction, and habitat. How cool is it that an octopus can fit its entire body through any space that can accommodate its relatively small beak, or change its skin color and texture in the blink of an eye? These and other adaptations are carefully explained to showcase octopus survival in the face of their many predators, as well as the techniques they use to feast on prey, including fellow mollusks. Henderson's illustrations feature a colorful range of octopus species, deftly conveying the beauty, flexibility, and motion of the octopuses and their squishy, tentacled bodies as they navigate their watery environments. The book ends with a paragraph that considers some unanswered questions about octopuses. A reading list and websites, glossary, and index are appended. danielle j. ford

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