Octopuses One to Ten

illus. by Robin Page. 32p. further reading. S. & S./Beach Lane. Sept. 2016. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781481431828.
Gr 1–3—Octopuses of all sizes dwell in this simple but enjoyable counting book. Besides having eight arms and three hearts, octopuses also have intelligence, blue blood, and the fascinating ability to camouflage. Combining simple counting rhymes ("Six strong arms can help them grab/shrimp, lobster, fish, and crab") and brief paragraphs expanding on different subjects ("Octopuses catch prey with six of their eight arms"), this colorful work is valuable as a read-aloud and for information-seeking youngsters. Muted watercolors emphasize the incredible movement and color of octopuses, and highlighting numbers in bold helps to reinforce the counting exercise. Illustrations one through nine depict the giant Pacific octopus. Following the 10th entry, an additional nine other species, each with its own page, are introduced ("Here are ten that you might meet…"). The information presented (behavior, biology, lifespan, and habitat) is well rounded; however, the octopuses' three hearts are mentioned and described, but their purpose and function are not explained. Several simple craft projects (toilet paper-roll octopus, octopus-themed snacks) are offered.
VERDICT Useful for introductory science programs featuring this less-well-understood sea dweller.

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