cover image Inky’s Amazing Escape: How a Very Smart Octopus Found His Way Home

Inky’s Amazing Escape: How a Very Smart Octopus Found His Way Home

Sy Montgomery, illus. by Amy Schimler-Safford. S&S/Wiseman, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-5344-0191-4

In 2016, an octopus named Inky made global news by escaping from New Zealand’s National Aquarium. This story recounts that event and imagines Inky’s pre- and postaquarium life in the wild. “Each octopus set out on a journey alone. They’re born ready to explore,” Montgomery (How to Be a Good Creature) writes in her direct, deeply respectful prose. At birth, Inky is “the size of a grain of rice,” and his considerable intellect and ultrapliable body stand him in good stead as he grows until, baseball-size and bitten, he’s scooped up in a fisherman’s net and taken to an aquarium. Life in captivity means crab snacks, toys (he plays with Lego blocks and Mr. Potato Head), and tickles from his trainer. But his innate curiosity wins out, and one night, Inky slips out of his tank and slides into a floor drain that leads back to the ocean. Textured mixed-media collages by Schimler-Safford (Hidden City) playfully evoke underwater scenes with brilliant hues. Inky regards the world with eager, lightly anthropomorphized googly eyes, but he’s never over-romanticized and emerges as a wily, winning personality. A final spread offers more octopus facts for eager learners. Ages 4–8. [em](Oct.) [/em]