Octopus Mum leads her eight little charges out of their cave in this waterlogged outing. Roberts's (Cat Parade) verse is attuned to the needs of a young audience, with plenty of bounce and onomatopoeia (""Blow bubbles with this parrot fish./ Dance with shrimp where grasses swish""). The story line is familiar but well wrought: the octopus clan has a peaceful tour until a mildly scary encounter with an eel sends everyone scurrying for home (intriguingly, in a sunken pirate ship). Unfortunately, the off-kilter palette that served Greenseid so well in When Aunt Lena Did the Rhumba is problematic here. While the minor players (the clown fish, the turtles, etc.) please the eye, the octopuses look like nothing so much as the lining of a person's stomach, and their bulbous forms, popping eyes and goofy grins don't improve matters--they're not creatures many readers would want to cozy up to. Ages 3-6. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/28/1998 Release date: 10/01/1998 Genre: Children's
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