cover image Behold the Octopus!

Behold the Octopus!

Suzanne Slade, illus. by Thomas Gonzalez. Peachtree, $18.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-68263-312-0

Via stunningly realistic pastel, colored pencil, and airbrush artwork, Gonzalez presents a series of colorful octopus portraits, each shown in tight close-up. The images give the sense of being underwater, near enough to touch each species’ tentacles and look into its eyes. Slade uses simple, vivid language, supplying single words to observe a particular facet of octopus life: gliding describes the animal’s water-jet propulsion, and changing references the way it camouflages. Detailed passages in smaller type supply further facts: about the giant Pacific octopus, “Its mighty suckers measure up to 2.5 inches... and each one can hold 35 pounds.” Octopus fans will be thrilled by information about the ability of some octopus species to foil pursuers by expelling ink, to attract prey with bioluminescence or dispatch them with venom, and new enthusiasts will find inspiration in this accessible, fact-rich volume. Generous back matter concludes. Ages 4–8. (Apr.)