J.P. and the Giant Octopus

Ana Crespo, illus. by Erica Sirotich. Albert Whitman, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-8075-39-75-0

J.P. thinks of himself a shark—at least, when he’s feeling brave. But he doesn’t feel that way when he’s faced with the “octopus” at the car wash. J.P. cowers in the backseat while an imagined orange cephalopod batters the family car. Sirotich’s playful transformation of the car wash into coral reef dotted with “Turn Off Engine” and “One Way” signs keeps the octopus’s assault from feeling too frightening, and when J.P. remembers his shark alter ego, it’s the octopus’s turn to be scared. A sensitive, humorous look at how imagination can both fuel anxiety and conquer it. Available simultaneously: J.P. and the Polka-Dotted Aliens. Ages 4–7. Illustrator’s agent: Jennifer Laughran, Andrea Brown Literary Agency. (Sept.)
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