cover image Thank You, Octopus

Thank You, Octopus

Darren Farrell. Dial, $16.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-8037-3438-8

Farrell's (Doug-Dennis and the Flyaway Fib) story opens with a retro-style panorama of New York Harbor in gentle pastels, then zeroes in on a chubby tugboat where an octopus and a boy sit at a table. "Bedtime ahoy," the octopus announces; the boy groans. "But I made you a nice warm bath," the octopus continues. Sounds like the lead-up to a cozy bedtime sequence, right? Wrong. The prankster octopus has filled the tub with egg salad. "Gross!" says the boy, waist-deep in sandwich filling. "No thank you, Octopus!" The octopus backpedals: "Sorry, I'll dry you off." Mollified, the boy thanks the octopus%E2%80%94just before the cephalopod adds, "With my tuba!" using the instrument like a large brass hair dryer. The wacky verbal duel escalates; kids will be delighted by the idea that it's the caretaker who's the troublemaker and the child who remembers his manners. Farrell crams the pictures with small visual gags (like the many empty mayo jars in the bathroom), while the boy's idyllic tugboat childhood provides a marvelous backdrop to the proudly silly action. Ages 3%E2%80%935. Agent: Elana Roth, Red Tree Literary. (May)