BookDragon Books for the Diverse Reader

Uh-Oh Octopus! by Elle van Lieshout and Erik van Os, illustrated by Mies van Hout

Uh-Oh Octopus! by Elle van Lieshout and Erik van Os on BookDragonFull disclosure: I’m an utter Mies van Hout groupie! When I see her name on a cover, I barely need to open the book to know that I’ll be getting some giddy glee.

Uh-Oh Octopus! authors Elle van Lieshout & Erik van Os provide van Hout just the right narrative to fill these pages with discovery, surprise, and plenty of delight. Meet sweet, content Octopus: “He had nothing to complain about. He could make himself a decent meal. He had a wonderful view.” But he comes home one morning to find an oversized tail stuck in the entrance to his cozy home. Uh-oh.

He swims away in fright and calls on the help of his friends. Hermit Crab tells him to move, the Jellyfish family advise him to chase the scary stranger away, Whale doesn’t have a single suggestion, but then plenty of others are only too happy to tell Octopus to do this and that and this and that some more.

In the midst of the melée, Octopus realizes he never stopped to ask his own self – and so he does exactly that to come up with just the right plan: he goes home, taps the tail ever so politely, but before he can even finish his sentence, a rather unexpected adventure is unleashed … whispering hearts and all!

With wit and wisdom both, van Lieshout and van Os offer plenty of resonating teaching moments, from thoroughly searching for answers, listening to your own advice, celebrating the power of polite, asking for help, and, of course, going with the flow (couldn’t resist!). The expressions, emotions, quirks, and mannerisms van Hout bestows on her lively creatures beckon readers many feet under: “I like to be, under the sea, in an Octopus’ garden …” Grab your mask, snorkel, fins … come on in, the water’s perfect!

Readers: Children

Published: 2009 (Netherlands), 2015 (United States)

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