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.
Christmas Octopus Books at the Bookstore
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.
Finding Amazing Octopus Books Online
Scientific Octopus Books for Kids
- Octopus: Amazing Pictures and Facts About Octopuses by Breanne Sartori.
- Octopuses for Kids, part of the Amazing Animal Books for Young Readers, by Rachel Smith. Aimed at 5-11 year olds.
- Octopuses and Other Animals with Amazing Senses by Susan Labella, September 2005, 6-7 years (that’s a very narrow range: my guess is an 8-year old might enjoy this book).
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
One 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 Squids 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
And 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!
Lest 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.
There 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.