Amazing Octopus Books for Kids on Your Holiday List

Maybe you haven’t thought about octopus books or octopus art for the kids are on your holiday gift list. Or maybe you’ve gotten your budding oceanographer (or tattoo artist) the ArtAkimbo Wall Tentacles and are looking for something else in the cephalopod vein.

So what kind of kids are you shopping for, exactly? I was at Thanksgiving recently with an 8-year old who had just memorized the Periodic Table of Elements and recited it at breakneck speed as the thing he was most grateful for. Does this sound like someone you know? If you’ve got a nerdy geeky scientific type of child, an octopus book might be just the thing.

So I wandered over to the Nature and Science section, still in the kids’ section. There were nothing but sharks! Yes, sharks are fascinating.  All those teeth! Two penises (learned that at a nearby aquarium)!  But the octopus is amazing too.

Scientific Octopus Books for Kids

There are at least another half dozen “amazing” books all covering the octopus’s awe-inspiring color-changing, jet propulsive, ink-squirting, and tentacled prowess in surviving and thriving in the ocean depths.

Silly, Quirky Octopus Books for Kids

But considering how downright strange the octopus is, there should be fictional, weird, playful, silly and quirky octopus books. And there are.

Classic Quirky Books Featuring Tentacled Creatures

Walking Your Octopus book coverOne of the best octopus books for children released in the last few years is the now classic Walking Your Octopus, A Guide to the Domesticated Cephalopod by Brian Kesinger. As you can tell from the title, the author doesn’t shy away from big words and the style of the illustrations are beautiful and playful at the same time. Riffing on Victorian style and manners, a young girl plays croquet, bikes, cooks and has other adventures with her pet octopus Otto. This book is liable to instill a love of Victoriana, steampunk, parasols, book collecting, and cephalopods in the impressionable child reader.

Squids Will Be Squidssquids-will-be-squids-cover only includes one story about a cephalopod, but it deserves mention. The book is a classic, one I’ve read to my own children, not so much for tale of the squid, but because it’s downright funny in a quirky way and because we enjoyed the previous brilliant Scieszka/Smith work, The Stinky Cheese Man. I highly recommend both.

 

 

Yes, Virginia, There is a Picture Book About the Kraken

krakenkidsbookAnd yes, it’s a story about a friendship between a boy and a misunderstood Kraken. Available only on Kindle and written for the 3-8 year old crowd. It looks like a kraken-good read!

Wait! There’s More!

emilywinesnapLest we forget the middle-school age reader, there’s the Emily Windsnap series featuring mermaids and sea monsters. My niece has been enchanted with mermaids and stories set in the watery depths and I happened upon this collection which seems to include tentacled sea creatures and might be a perfect gift.

 

book cover of Ringo Starr's Octopus's Garden kid's bookThere are books riffing off of the Beatles’ song Octopus’s Garden, including this charming book Octopus’s Garden by none other than Ringo Starr. There’s also an octopus joke book with the same name and an adult coloring book called Octopus’s Garden (not that kind of adult, ok for kids).

 

Finally, there’s a children’s book (in print and Kindle) called Dumbo Octopuses, by Tanya Turner, who writes about unusual animals (in yes, another “Amazing Creature” series). Dumbo octopuses, with their large ears (for octopuses) and blobby look, are truly amazing creatures and deserve their own tale.

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Wherefore Steampunk?

Ask an octopus what makes him so steampunk and he’ll probably just wave you away with one of his eight arms. Or make like Inky the Octopus and escape.

Long before comic books, anime, video games and Disney movies, there was Victorian science fiction. Jules Verne and HP Lovecraft both plumbed the mysteries of the deep in their tales and chose tentacled creatures to terrify and chill. Lovecraft’s ‘The Call of Cthulhu‘ was published in 1928 in Weird Tales featuring Cthulhu, a mythic creature with an octopoid head.

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea: the octopus and Captain Nemo
Through a porthole, gladly: Captain Nemo considers the octopus (8 arms, so not a squid) in 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea  features a tentacled creature, perhaps a squid, perhaps an octopus (the original French apparently uses the word for octopus).

And now there’s the steampunk universe, which revels in old-fashion Victorian style and retro future tech: goggles and ray guns, bustles and time machines. And, thanks to Verne and Lovecraft, tentacles. While we expand our knowledge of outer space, much of ocean life is still a mystery. The idea of a creature lurking in the depths is still a real possibility, isn’t it?

So yes, the ArtAkimbo tentacle fits in nicely if you’re outfitting a room or your home with steampunk decor.

But don’t take my word for it: you can follow three years or more of discussion on Why the Octopus is Steampunk here.

To see how Steampunk itself is spreading its tentacles, check out this quintessential steampunk band, a charming children’s book about a young girl and her pet Octopus, and my Pinterest board on Steampunk Decor.

 

 

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How Do You Hang a Tentacle?

ArtAkimbo Large Tentacle
It’s easy peasy to hang the ArtAkimbo wall tentacle.

Let me count the ways.  There are two ways, depending on whether you have the smaller 9″ ArtAkimbo tentacle or the longer 24″ feller. We ship both instructions AND hardware with the tentacle to make life easy for all our tentacle fans. In case you’ve  lost the piece of paper, we’re copying the instructions below.   And rest assured: it’s a fairly simple procedure, made easier because you don’t have to run out to the hardware store. You will have to rummage through your tool drawers and find a screwdriver (and possibly a hammer for the smaller tentacle). (more…)

Steampunk Decor: Just Add Tentacle

Channeling Jules Verne! Great steampunk-styled tattoo parlor in France truly feels like you’re 20,000 leagues under the sea. The shop has created the feel of a rusty submarine, complete with the ArtAkimbo Large Orange  Octopus Tentacle. But is it guarding the door to the captain’s inner sanctum or is it invading?

Steampunk Room with Tentacle

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Where Do You Hang a Wall Tentacle?

We think any home decor can be livened up by a wall tentacle. Perhaps you do too, but can’t quite visualize it: behind the lace curtains? In the kitchen cupboard? Above the mantel? To help you envision where a tentacle might perch in your home, we’ve got more great customer pics of the tentacle in situ (thanks, customers!).

Small wall tentacle

Use juxtaposition, an essential element of home decor, and anchor the tentacle near a curtain rod, mantle or bookcase. (more…)

Who Turned Mona into a Meme?

Where did it all begin, this Mona-centered universe of ours? Many blame, or praise, Marcel Duchamp, whose famous mustachification is shown below on the right.

Images: Public Domain

Images: Public Domain.

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