Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Parents' Choice Awards : Books : Picture Books
Also An Octopus

Also An Octopus

Spring 2017 Picture Books
Ages: 3 - 7 yrs.
Author: Maggie Tokuda-Hall
Illustrator: Benji Davies
Publisher: Candlewick Press
ISBN: 9780763670849
Hardcover Price: $16.99

First-time children's author Maggie Tokuda-Hall and veteran illustrator Benji Davies have teamed up to create this highly original, gentle charmer, a picture book for young children doubling as a guide to the art of storytelling. "Every story starts the same way…with nothing," the book begins, with an arrow pointing to the blank facing page. "Every story needs a character," it continues, introducing a little girl, then a bunny, before settling on a city-dwelling, ukulele-playing octopus. Hmmm. What does the octopus want? A spaceship, it turns out. How the octopus acquires his spaceship, and what he does when it doesn't work, leads to a street-side ukulele concert that attracts just the help needed. And thus, "the resolution of the story takes shape," Tokuda-Hall writes. What happens next? The ending is up to young readers, who are encouraged to exercise their own imaginations during and beyond the book. Davies' matches Tokuda-Hall's text with whimsical details (the chubby octopus wears a tiny red knitted hat topped with a bobble; the little girl and bunny appear) and an interesting color palette dominated by mustard yellow, blues, purples, and coral.

Lynne Heffley   ©2017 Parents' Choice
A freelance writer and editor for the arts and non-profit organizations, Lynne is a former staff writer for the Los Angeles Times, where she established the paper's first weekly children's arts and entertainment beat.

Share This