Obsessive About Octopuses

Flying Eye. (About Octopuses). Apr. 2020. 40p. Tr $19.95. ISBN 9781912497782.
Gr 3-5–This oversized book tries to cover every detail and fact known about cephalopods. Straightforward chapters describe all aspects of these sea creatures. For example, “Dressed for Success” explains how an octopus is able to change its skin color, pattern, and texture. Readers will learn that its brain controls color cells in its skin called chromatophores. “Smarter than the Average” explains how octopuses can solve mazes and puzzles and are very adept at escaping enclosures. “Born this Way” outlines the life cycle of an octopus. Babies are called hatchlings, and the octopus is a semelparous animal, meaning that it reproduces once and then dies. Conservation of the octopus is highlighted near the end of the book. Unfortunately, the book’s design is flawed. The abundance of drawings limits the reader’s ability to fully absorb and retain information. Each page is a different color that appears to be dull and flat, and pages are covered with too many illustrations. There is no chance for understanding the actual appearance of an octopus or some of the details that highlight the specific characteristics or different kinds of octopi. Many readers will struggle with the busyness of the pages, the dense text, or lack of anatomical realism.
VERDICT This is certainly not a title for reports, regardless of the bounty of information and variety of octopuses. As a browsing item, it is equally informative and frustrating.

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