I don’t know if I’ve ever really mentioned it, but we love a good octopus in this house – so I just had to request this fun new picture book!
Book: Octopus Shocktopus by Peter Bently, illustrated by Steven Lenton
Read before: No, but it’s been read twice already since arriving!
Ownership: Review copy sent free of charge by Nosy Crow Books. All opinions my own.
Octopus Shocktopus tells the story of what happens when a giant octopus plops down on top of your house – an everyday occurrence, of course! The family and their neighbours are variously baffled, delighted, and cross about the appearance of the octopus, but soon they all come to see how wonderful it is to have a giant eight-armed friend. It’s a fantastic concept, and one that offers a well-told moral about friendship and helping people. It’s also extremely fun to read, as the words have a great rhythm that makes every line a joy to read out loud, and it’s smart enough to make adults laugh too.
The art is really eye-catching! I’m not sure the picture above captures how gorgeously neon that octopus is, but it’s the most incredible bright orangey-pink colour that really stands out. It also happens to be my baby’s current favourite colour, so he’s spent ages looking at the cover – he’s far too little to read it himself for a while yet, but it’s definitely being loved already! For older ones who are looking more closely, there are a lot of great touches – the characters are all interestingly different, with fun details that show off their personalities. I particularly love the final two spreads, which show the whole village and the array of different people who live there. There’s loads to point out, and it adds a nice, subtle comment that communities can be made up of all sorts of people (even giant octopuses!).
This is an absolutely joyous read. It’s got a perfect balance between zany and down to earth in both the text and the art – I think this is going to be a real favourite for storytime! Five out of five cats!