Skip to main content

Thank You, Octopus by Darren Farrell

There are SO MANY things I love about Thank You, Octopus by Darren Farrell, but it's clear that the best place to start is with the octopus - a rare but very welcome character in a picture book and not seen with this level of earnest, smart humor since the dynamic duo of Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith brought us Cowboy and Octopus. Farrell's laugh-filled story is exactly the kind that little listeners love - a pattern is established, anticipation builds with every page turn and there is a spontaneous shout-it-out kind of audience participation that adds to the fun. Like Cowboy and OctopusThank You, Octopus is the kind of book that you will be asked to read over and over and, along with the listeners, never tire of.

In Thank You, OctopusFarrell's eight-armed cephalopod is a well-intentioned parental type (the New York Times review brilliantly referred to Octopus as an "eight-tentacled au pair") making his home on a cozy tug boat in New York Harbor with his young friend. Farrell's illustrations are filled with little details and foreshadowing that add to consecutive readings and his characters are the perfect combination of cartoonish and childish. The color palette Farrell employs is perfectly nautical and pleasantly muted with bursts of bright yellows and reds.

Octopus knows just what needs to be done, but doesn't always know how to do it. I don't want to give away every unexpected, Amelia-Bedelia-type-misinterpretation made by the well meaning Octopus because the surprise of the page turn is priceless, even after you've read Thank You, Octopus a handful of times. But . . .

. . . it's very hard not to share a couple of my favorites here. A cry of "Bedtime ahoy" from Octopus kicks of the nighttime ritual with a bath - in a tub filled with egg salad. Brushing teeth, being rocked to bed, clearing the monsters out from under the bed (and relocating them to the closet...) are also up for misunderstandings and laughs in Thank You, OctopusThe boy politely, but firmly declines each time until he just can't take it anymore and has a bit of an understandable tantrum.

But nothing comes between these two pals, as the very clever back of the dust jacket shows us!

While doing a little research to write this review, I discovered that I had read and loved Darren Farrell's picture book debut, Doug-Denis and the Flyaway Fib, while perusing the Queen Anne Book Company in Seattle in 2011. I'm not sure why I never reviewed Doug-Denis and the Flyaway Fib, but I'm going to give it another read and am very happy that Darren Farrell's return to the shelves of picture books is a strong one!

Source: A Bookstore!


Popular posts from this blog

Made by Dad: 67 Blueprints for Making Cool Stuff - Projects You Can Build For (and With) Kids! by Scott Bedford

On his personal website, Scott Bedforddescribes himself as an "Award Winning Online Creative Professional" working within the advertising and design industry. What is more interesting (and applicable here) is how hisWhat I Made website came to be. While sitting in a Starbucks with his restless young sons, trying to enjoy his latte, Bedford created something out of coffee stir sticks that ended up keeping his boys entertained, finishing his coffee in peace and sparking (re-sparking, really) his creative drive and reminding him of the "enormous joy gained from making things, even simple things, and that this joy is not the complexity or quality of the finished project but in the process of making itself. On Bedford'sWhat I Made website, he even shares Six Cool Coffee Shop Crafts for Kidsthat you can try out next time you want to enjoy your coffee and your kids are making that difficult. I've shared two below - be sure to check out the website and see the rest!


How to Choose Age Appropriate Books for Advanced Readers

How to Choose Age Appropriate Books for Advanced Readers remains the most read post on my blog since I wrote it in 2012. Because of this, I have cleaned up this post, tightened the writing and added in any pertinent information that has come about since it originally ran. When I first started in August of 2008, I was scrambling for content, finding my purpose and my voice and not always doing my best writing. How to Choose Age Appropriate Books for Advanced Readers was one of the first articles I wrote and, as a bookseller and a book reviewer, and now as an elementary school librarian where I have gone from working with kids reading well beyond their grade level to kids reading well below, this philosophy remains my organizing principle and central focus when reading and recommending books to parents and children. 

In the interest of my mission and the attention this article continues to receive, I have updated and expanded this article and included a guide to using …

POP-UP: Everything You Need to Know to Create Your Own Pop-Up Book, paper engineering by Ruth Wickings, illustrations by Frances Castle RL: All ages

POP-UP:  Everything You Need to Know to Create Your Own Pop-Up Book with paper engineering by Ruth Wickings and illustrations by Frances Castle is THE COOLEST BOOK EVER!!!  I know that I haven't dedicated much time to pop-up books here, but they have always held a special place in my heart, and the phrase "paper engineering" is a favorite of mine. Although I didn't know what it was at the time, I did go through a paper engineering phase when I was ten or so. I would sneak off to the back of the classroom during independent work periods and go to town on the construction paper and glue and make these little free-standing dioramas. A huge fan of The Muppet Show (the original), I reconstructed the all-baby orchestra from an episode, drawing and coloring each baby and his/her instrument then gluing them onto a 3D orchestra section I had crafted out of brown construction paper.  I also made a 3D version of Snidely Whiplash throwing Nell off a cliff with Dudley Do-Right wa…