Friday, February 2, 2018

Winter Reading 2018 Inky the Octopus: Bound for Glory


Inky is an incredibly curious octopus who feels the call of the open sea, even while living a pampered life with catered meals and companionship within the National Aquarium of New Zealand. Despite "three meals a day of lobster, shrimp, and squid," Inky longs for something more than life in a tank. "Out of this tank, I must break free. I hear the ocean calling me!" says the adventurous cephalopod. 

Based on the real-life escape of an octopus from the aquarium, this picture book is told from Inky's point of view. While this may detract a bit from the strictly scientific accuracy of the account, it has the advantage of appealing to young readers. The rhyming text makes readers wonder how it would feel to "live in a world of see-through walls, in a tank with a locked down lid." While Inky enumerates the benefits of life at the aquarium like food and other creatures to play with, the call of the sea is a refrain as faithful as the tides. 

Illustrations show Inky playing "seaweed hide-and-seek" with a puffer fish, which seems like fun. But the pictures also show the view of the ocean so tantalizingly close that readers can almost hear the waves on the shore and sympathize with Inky's desire. The stealthy departure from the aquarium includes some eight-armed tiptoeing on the part of the protagonist while the other residents look on with alarmed expressions. Then comes a cannonball into the water, and a celebratory pirouette beneath the waves. The large eyes show every emotion, along with plenty of invertebrate body language.

Back matter includes the details of the real escape and Inky's photo. There are also three pages of octopus facts and a bibliography. Highly recommended to accompany units on ocean animals or animal adaptations, as well as for readers who enjoy animal stories in general.

I read an e-book provided by the publisher through NetGalley.

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