Review Blog

Nov 27 2019

No place for an octopus by Claire Zorn

cover image

UQP, 2019. ISBN: 9780702262609.
(Age: 4+) Recommended. Themes: Octopus, Sea creatures, Environment. When a boy finds an octopus in a rock pool on the beach, he imagines what it would be like if the creature were his friend. The octopus is all alone in the rock pool and has no friends there with him, he is hiding behind the seaweed and looks hungry. They could do all sorts of things together: the animal could bathe in his bath, eat his food, read a book with him, go on the roller coaster, travel and be very quiet.
The boy watches the animal in the rock pool, pondering its environment and sees the array of things children can find in a rock pool: seaweed and shells, small fish, sea urchins, crabs and limpets, ledges and shallow water in which animals can hide. The octopus peers at the boy from behind his seaweed and the boy decides that the rock pool is the best place for the creature and leaves him alone.
This lovely story, full of information about a rock pool and its inhabitants, will appeal to every reader as they peruse the illustrations for signs of life in the rock pool, listing the various things they spot. The pencil and water colour illustrations are marvellously informative, allowing the reader to pick things out for themselves, and giving a subtle message about conservation at the same time.
The hole in the cover will encourage readers to pick up the book to read, and the faces peeping through at the reader are an extra inducement guaranteeing a lot of enjoyment. The book will stimulate discussion about why things are in a particular place, why creatures are linked to the environment in which they live and the hazards of removing them from their environment. Classes will get a buzz reading about the possibilities of an octopus sharing their bedroom and going on trips with them, seeing the inappropriateness of such an action, underscoring again the link between an animal and its environment. Teacher's notes are available.
Fran Knight

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