The Den That Octopus Built

Candlewick. May 2024. 32p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781536226546.
Gr 2-5–An octopus may be the closest thing to an alien on Earth, which makes the species fascinating but difficult to relate to. Using the familiar rhyme scheme of “This is the House that Jack Built,” Sonenshine introduces readers to the birth cycle of the octopus, from making its den, to laying eggs, to releasing its babies into the world. The word choices for the rhyme are quite advanced, making this an excellent read-aloud for older grades. Hunter’s ink, watercolor, and colored pencil illustrations bring warmth and accessibility to the subject, inviting readers into the pages. The illustrations depicting the end of life for the mother octopus are particularly moving; these scenes and their use of color convey sadness, sacrifice, and hope. An “octo-knowledge” section at the end provides fun facts, glossary, and an author’s note.
VERDICT A great read-aloud choice for older readers, recommended for most collections.

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